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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fixing A Bulldog's Butt

Yes, I've been a bit absent from the blog recently, with only a few posts over the last few weeks.  I've been busy with other things in life and haven't had the motivation to blog.  However, let's make up for that with a couple of days of posting some interesting surgeries!

The first surgery is of a sweet female English bulldog who had a history of allergic skin problems.  We're working through what she may be allergic to, but there was another situation to deal with.  Bulldogs are one of the few breeds with naturally short tails that don't have to be "docked".  The tail should be short and slightly curly but not have really deep folds.  Unfortunately, deep depressions in the skin can happen as a consequence of how they grow and develop.  When the skin folds are very deep they can trap moisture and skin oils, leading to persistent infections.  This kind of infection can be very irritating to the pet causing significant itching and rubbing.  Such was the case with this dog, who was daily scooting and rubbing her bottom.  While this behavior can indicate full anal sacs, in her situation it was definitely the skin around the tail.

Here are some pre-operative pictures.  You should be able to see how deep the folds are and how inverted the tail itself is.  The third picture down shows me holding the folds back and pushing the tail out.  This was one of the deepest tail folds I've seen and could only be fixed with surgery.

The goal of a surgery like this is to remove the tail and excess skin, then closing the incision to make the hind end smooth with no folds.  In principle this is a simple surgery.  However, the process can be difficult because on a short tail like this you have to remove the tail as close to the sacrum as possible, usually leaving only one tail vertebra in place.  The challenge comes in that with the folds and fat around the hind end the surgeon is working deep in a hole with some limited visibility.  I was able to work by feel when I couldn't see due to my own fingers being in the way.   The vet also has to avoid damage to the rectum, colon, and surrounding muscles.

Here is the tail after it was removed.

And here is how she looked after the surgery was over.

When the hair regrows and the post-operative swelling goes away she'll have a smooth bottom and no further itching!  Now we just have to control the rest of her skin problems.


  1. Replies
    1. You claim to be a vet in your profile and consider a dog "gross"? Wow... simply wow...

    2. Why is that surprising? Just because we're vets doesn't mean that we like every breed or patient. Bulldogs really are kind of gross, and I say that as a lover of the breed. They snort, snore, and drool. They are prone to skin and ear problems. There are many, many things in our daily practices that are quite gross, but it doesn't mean we don't do them. There are many breeds that I don't like and don't look forward to treating, but it doesn't mean I give them any different care.

    3. I don't believe bulldogs are gross i believe humans like yourself are gross.. There are many good qualities in a bulldogs that makes their bad not even noticeable.. I LOVE MY BULLDOG!!!

    4. Actually, there are many things about bulldogs that many people would consider gross. They have frequent problems with infections of their skin and ears, have tendencies for eye problems, and snort/hack/snore most of the day. And I'm saying this as a bulldog lover and bulldog owner! I do think that the pros of owning a bulldog outweigh the cons, especially their personalities, but that doesn't mean that people who think that they are "gross" are bad people.

    5. While I agree that an average person certainly has the right to think bulldogs are gross, its a little concerning, IMO, to see a vet say that. As the owner of 3 bulldogs and an animal lover, I don't think ANY breed is "gross". To hear a vet say that makes me feel like that person doesn't like the breed and would give subpar treatment to that animal. If I ever had an indication that my vet thought my dogs were gross I would be finding a new vet pronto and posting reviews to warn others. I mean really, that's like a doctor saying blood or pus are gross. It sounds immature and extremely unprofessional...

  2. Hi my english bulldog has something kind of similar to this. i'm not entirely sure if it's the folds itself that's messing with her anus/anal gland, but it seems like it's the way her tail skews inward/downward that causes the discomfort. Would you have any advice on how to go about this? Maybe know a vet in the FL area who has experience with things like this? Thank you!

    1. You should start by asking your vet about this issue. If they don't do the procedure they can probably refer you to someone who does.


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