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Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16480
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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Can perianal fistulas spread to the tail?

Customer Question

Can perianal fistulas spread to the tail?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.
Hi there. My name is ***** ***** I'm happy to help you with your question today. Just like an in person consult, I have some questions of my own to help ensure I give you the best advice possible...What breed of dog is it?How old is your dog?How long has the dog had fistulas?Can you explain to me what is going on with the tail?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
German Shepard 10 years about a year and had surgery once but came back. I just noticed a raised sore on top of the tail that is hard and larger then a mole. The dog has many fat deposits that the vet said is not harmful and that is not what this is. With the fistulas around his anus I thought this might be from that. I need to find a remedy for the fistulas because they are increasing.
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.
THanks for the additional information. I really appreciate it.As you know, with fistulas, they can happen when a dog pushes too hard to get out a constipated fecal material, and this causes injury to the rectum that can take months (to years) to heal because it's in such a highly used part of the body. Additionally, certain breeds are more prone to these fistulas, and german shepherds are at the top of that list. There's more information on them here: and here: Of course, it's hard to know if this is exactly what your dog has going on since I can't see him, but in my experience, it's one of those problems that can get worse and spread to other areas of the rear end. I don't know that I'd expect to see it on the top part of the tail, but that doesn't mean it can't happen. It's definitely possible that the fistula tunnel made it up there.At this point, since he's otherwise stable, I don't think that you need to rush him to an emergency vet or anything tonight, but you should give your vet a call on Monday when they open and see if they want to take a peek at him, just to be on the safe side.I hope this helps.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What type of topical medication is there and is it safe if he licks the medication?
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.
Generally there is no topical medication to treat it. Fistulas...if they're bad enough....they require surgical intervention. Talking to your vet would be the best idea. They will likely send out oral antibitoics.