HI,I have a 8.5 year old male, neutered Australian Shepherd mixed dog.I am currently located in Grenada, but am from the U.S., as is my dog, Darwin.About 2.5 months ago he started what would be called a hot spot on his lower tail, close to his rump. He had a couple of these in his past, so we basically knew how to deal with them. Clip the hair, keep it dry, keep him from chewing on it. After a few days or trying, we were not having much luck keeping him from it, even with a cone and a wrap on his tail. We took him to the Vet Clinic here (St George's University Animal Hospital).To make a long story short, we have been 4 times to the vet over the past 10 weeks, had skin scrapings done, anal gland squeezing, x-ray of his tail, he has been on Clavamox now for 19 days out of a 21 day course, changing his food to something new (even though he has been on this food for 18 months with no issues (current food was Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach, moving him to Honest Kitchen Keen and Science Diet z/d). When we are around, he leaves it alone for the most-part, as he knows he should not be doing it. We were still wrapping it up at night to give him a little deterrent from getting into it while we were asleep, and all was going OK for about 12 days. The tail looked basically healed, and the hair was starting to grow back.Last night, I put him on my bed to wrap his tail for the night, went to get something and was gone for about 2 minutes, came back and he was chewing away again. I have also noticed that even though the tail looked OK, he was still acting a little odd with it, not quite wagging it as normal, and holding to one side at times. So, took him to the vet again, basically at this point they dont know what it is, and sent me home with nothing else to do, except a good luck. While he had the xray done this morning, he was left alone for a few minutes, and chewed it up again while at the vet.He has had no trauma's on the tail, and the x-ray is 100% normal.Anyone have any suggestions, as after 2.5 months of this, we are at a total loss for what to do next, except have our dog live in a cone and tail wrap for the remainder of his life.He has no itches or scratching anywhere else on his body, and is eating and drinking normally.He does/did go swimming daily in salt water, but we have been rinsing him with fresh now after every time, which hasn't but much anyway in the past 2 months since the wound has been pretty raw most of the time.Thank for all so much for any help!Mark
Pet's Sex: MalePet's Age: 8
Is there any flea problems where you are?
If so is the dog on a monthly flea preventitve?
Does the tail that you say looks wierd and off to the side, seem to hurt him at all?
HI,He does not have a flea and tick problem, sorry I didnt mention that. He is on monthly Advatix and the vet has checked every time to make sure as well.Its hard to tell if the tail is hurting, or intesely itching. It only seems painful when the skin is raw for a few days after he has been chewing on it (which is to be expected). After that, it still seems a bit sensitive to touch and to him, but again, I can't tell if its pain or itching. The Dr he saw this morning tends to lean more towards itching than pain, based on the fact he doesnt yelp or anything when working on the tail. My only issue with that conclusion is he doesnt really yelp ever. He licks the air when the tail is hurting and I am changing the bandage or putting any new cream (animax) on it, but never yelps.His tail being a bit "off" is probably something only I could pick up on. Sometimes, but not always, he seems to have it tucked a bit closer to him. But at times, its up when we go for a walk, but it still sometimes swings from side to side in a bit of a different manner then normal (or more to one side than the other). Of course right now, since its chewed up again, its close to his body and is very sensitive. After it had some time to heal, it didnt seem to bad to touch it, but I can't say he was enjoying it either...Please let me know what else I can answer...Mark
Mark I am sorry , I had typed up a n answer and there is something wrong with the site so the answer was elimiated. I will retype everything. It may take about 15 minutes
OK. No problem. .After 2.5 months I have time .Mark
Here we go again:)
I would be concerned about a flea allergy, even if you dog does not show fleas, and is on a preventative. My dog had an allergy to fleas and went through just what you are describing and he was on a preventive.
What happens is that the dog is actually allergic to the flea's saliva, so one bite and then the flea can die or hop off, but it can cause a big reaction in the tail area. Doing what you have been doing , treating like a hot spot is good, the shaving and drying, but use an antibacterial soap and clean several times a day and then apply a triple antibiotic ointment on it. It is possible that the dog needs to be on oral antibiotics as well for a while longer. Chewing and licking spread bacteria which keeps the wound infected. It's a vicious cycle. Talk to your vet about using Benadryl to help with the itch. Don't mix meds without talking to your vet. Keep the cone on as frustrating as it is, it should help, or you may want to try the collars below.
Benadryl dosing: a pop up may appear on this page, just hit close windows at the bottom to get to the article.
As it pertains to the tail going to the side, Some dogs who swim get cold tail or dead tail from this, it can also happen from a good workout but the tail stands out from the base then drops down and it is painful to the dog. Some vets do not know about this so I am going to direct you to a site for this so at least you will know how to spot the problem. I would suspect though that it just really hurts from the chewing,
I might also talk to the vet about giving some type of tranquilizer so that at times you can't be with the dog you can give that so hopefully the dog leaves the tail alone.
It is a battle and I remember going through it for a couple of months, the dog's tail was nearly raw and to the bone from chewing and that was in the first weeks until I started to get things under control, and of course many vet visits later!
cold tail/dead tail
Elizabethan collars: home made
bite not collar:
homemade bite not collars:
Pet Co pro collar
Thank you for the information, but I am not sure this helps much.....I have never seen a flea on him, nor any indications of any fleas on him. There are quite a few ticks here, but I have not heard of others having flea issues, only tick issues, which we dont seem to get either being on Advantix. There are no indications of bites and we have never found a dead flea on our boat (we live on a sailboat), and the vet has checked multiple times and not found anything leading them to fleas.We have a cream from the vet called Animax. I presume this is better than a triple antibiotic cream since one is presecibed and one is over-the-counter. We are applying this cream 2-3x/day.The vet did prescribe benedryl before, and we were suggested to try it again today. It didnt really seem to do much, but when I got back I started giving it to him again as I am pretty desperate right now.With prior hot-spots, the vet would prescribe Predisone. The only issue I have with using this is that he becomes overly thirsty and pants a lot, one of the side effects. But his case seems a bit worse than normal so I prefer not to use this if possible. However, in the past, the chewing did subside and the wounds got better while on the Predisone.We use the cone if both of us are out. Otherwise one of us is around and he doesnt seem to be chewing it in general when we are around, except for last night. We can't keep him in a cone 24 hours a day, its just not OK, and it seems that 24 hours/day is what might work since in 2 minutes of being "alone" he gets at it again. Thanks for the links to the other options, it may be worth a try at least when we are not home, and maybe easier for him to live with, althouth all the options sort of state that rear end/tail may still be accessible, and based on our dogs ability to get around the Cone, and tail wrap, and T-shirt, I am not sure they will work, but might try them.The issue to me is that we're not knowing whats causing the irritation (I have a hard time beleiving its fleas, sorry). We have gotten the tail to heal OK, and then he starts again. So, nothing is being treated to help the issue, the only treatment is for infection, which is fine, but only helps in the short-term. To me the only way to help him is to treat the problem, but no one can seem to determine what the problem is.If you have more you would like to add, please do.Thanks,Mark
Since you believe it is not flea realted in any way, I am going to opt out and see if someone else here can help you. Do not push accept as I don't want you charged for my answer. Wait until someone elso picks this up and helps you. I do wish you the best and hope someone here can give you other suggestions. You will see an opt out near my name which tells other experts to pick it up if they feel they can help.
Thanks Sally for your help, I do appreciate your time and effort.Hopefully I can get some other suggestions on what might be going on.Mark
Dear XXXXX,Thank you for your post. I am sorry to hear that your dog is having problems. I understand your frustrated you must be. I am glad that you have taken him in to the vet school.Without examining him, it is hard to do more than just speak in generalities. I am glad to hear that he is carrying his tail normally, which may suggest that it isn't related to a nerve problem. However, without special imaging, we can't rule it out. It is possible that he is licking along the lines where a nerve runs.The other possibility is that he isn't tolerating the heat well. Things that you could try first would be to shave his coat if you haven't already done so and to treat him with a short course of steroids. I understand the frustration that goes along with the side effects, but sometimes it is important to get the lesion cleared up. The other thing I would consider would be a biopsy of that area for histopathology and cultures. That way, we could have more information about the cause of the problem and make sure that he is being treated with the appropriate antibiotics.I am sorry that there is no easy answer, but I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know how I can be of further assistance.
Hi,Thanks for your information.He is always biting/chewing along the bottom side/edge of the tail. The top he leaves alone. He started at the base, but now he seems to be focusing along the bottom between 4 and 8 inches away from his rump. Not sure if thats of any help or not about the nerve idea. I am sure they dont have that type of equipment here anyway, so figured I would try to send as much info as possible to you. I can certainly take a photo as well, but not sure if I can attach that to this service or not.The heat is always a bit of an issue, but he has been in warmer climates for most of the past 4 years. We do trim his hair during the summer, when its the hottest. Last time was about 4 weeks ago. He is always in the shade during the day, and we also have a "cool mat" to help out a bit. We also (not now becuase of the open sore), we take him swimming 1-2x per day to help him cool off, and are now rinsing him with fresh water to make sure the salt is not bothering his skin as the water dries.As far as the biobsy you recommend, that would invovlde the vet here taking a sampe from "inside" the tail, correct, and the examining it in a lab of some sort? I just want to make sure I understand what you are getting at so I can be sure to convey the correct thing to the vets here.Thanks again, and look forward to hearing back,Mark
Hi Mark,Not a biopsy of inside the tail, but a biopsy of the affected site. Ideally a couple that include the affected area, as well as the margin between normal and abnormal tissue. Then it should be submitted for histopathology and a masserated tissue culture (aerobic, anaerobic, and fungal).Then I would consider the prednsione to try to get it cleared up.good luck Mark!
Board qualified in Small Animal Internal Medicine