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Perianal Fistula in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

Perianal Fistula in dogs is about as horrible as it sounds.

Perianal Fistula in dogs…

Is a condition which affects a dog in one of the most heart wrenching ways, you see this is a term used to describe an infection of a dog’s anal glands.

Which causes the…

Affected dog to suffer from itching, inflammation and pain, particularly when they need to go “potty”.  And while this condition is fairly common and treatable, even when a loving owner takes all the necessary steps to provide the proper care for their loved one, it still can affect the entire perianal region and anal area.

Which is probably due to…

The fact that this disease is often the result or “symptom” of some other “type” of disease, skin conditions or glandular issue.  This is why, regardless of “why” you think your dog has developed a perianal fistula, you should always have him or her checked out by a vet.

This is also why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also wanted to take a moment and describe exactly what a perianal fistula is so that you the owner can get a better understanding of what to look for and also have a better idea about what it will take to restore your dog’s health.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

What is a perianal fistula, and what does it do?

A perianal fistula is an infection of the anal Fistulous tracts in the perianal area. Canine Perianal fistulas will be found around the dog’s anus, anal sphincter and under the tail and will present themselves as lesions that are not only weeping but also painful and itchy.

Which means that…

Your dog will want to scratch but won’t be able to, so be prepared for some butt-rubbing, scooting and perhaps even spinning in circles on their bottom in an effort to alleviate their discomfort!

Symptoms of a Perianal Fistula

Clinical signs or symptoms of this condition include lesions in the anal area that present as cuts or scratches rather than as lumps or bumps as well as physical behavior manifesting itself in behaviors designed to satiate any itching or irritation you dog may be suffering from in and around his “rear”.

After noticing…

Any of these signs or symptoms, you’re still going to want to allow your vet to do a rectal examination to be sure this is what you’re dealing with.  From there, medical management must be undertaken to minimize the risk of the infection spreading, the lesions becoming otherwise infected or against an abscess forming in the glands.

Now…

In the worst-case scenario, surgery may be needed and in extreme cases, tail amputation may be necessary.  However, we should state for the record that this type of treatment in only required in the most extreme cases.

Which is why…

You want to be sure and have your vet check out your dog right away if you suspect something might be wrong.

Now in less…

Extreme cases, your vet may also want to perform an anal sacculectomy if they see fit and if the condition is stopping your dog from being able to toilet. Of course, surgical treatment options for the anal sacs are only reserved for the more extreme cases.

The real concern…

Is infection.  You see, when these skin tracts become infected it becomes almost impossible for the dog to perform a regular bowel movement, an issue which will clue you in as to the nature of the disease. If you see your dog straining excessively when they are going about their business then this condition may be lingering on them.

The good news is…

That if caught early, often times treating this condition can be quite simple and not require any type of surgical treatments which we will discuss later on.

Affected Breeds

Breeds known to be susceptible to Perianal Fistula include:

  • The Golden Retriever
  • The Irish Setter
  • The Labrador Retriever
  • Shepherd Dogs

It is worth noting that German Shepherd Dogs are so prone to this condition that they have their very own variant, which is known as anal furunculosis.

Similarly…

This condition affects the tissue and perianal skin and inflames it, thus blocking the dog’s bowels. Both variations of the condition will require ongoing medical therapies and treatments should surgery not be an option.

Treatment Options

Initially your vet will want to run some blood tests and other examinations. This is just to ensure that this disease is not the result of, or connected to, any other diseases your dog may have. They will also want to ensure that the lesions are wounds, and not lumps, which might indicate the presence of cancer.

Now…

Without resorting to surgical treatments there may be other things that your vet will want to try beforehand. Topical creams are available to try and soothe the itch while preventing further spread of infection. Your vet might prescribe something like topical Tacrolimus which, though normally used for humans with severe Eczema flare ups, will solve the problem a little for your poor pooch.

Other treatments involve…

Soothing and calming the infection in order to manage it. Your vet may incorporate medical therapies to treat it, such as skin baths or steroidal creams. Cyclosporine or Ketoconazole applied to the anal sacs or anal area might also help, depending on your dog’s individual symptoms and needs. At any rate, we believe that your vet will try everything they can before resorting to amputation.

Which brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have perianal fistula (or any other health issue for that matter) the first thing that you’re going to want to do is have him or her check out by a vet ASAP!

Because…

The truth is, an early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering him or her, but beyond that diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!

This is also why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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