Stud Tail in Dogs: What You Must Know About That Bald Spot

What to know about stud tail in dogs

For most families, their dog’s health is as important as their kids’ health. Because your precious pup can’t tell you about its discomfort, doggy daddies and mommies must be alert to any aches and pains they may be suffering. Learning to recognize signs of common health problems is a good start. One of those is stud tail in dogs, which can cause your doggy dude significant discomfort.

Has your canine companion recently developed a bald spot near the base of its tail? Many people were unaware of the existence of the violet gland or supracaudal gland on their dogs’ tails until they became bald patches or infected areas. Although it might seem mysterious, it is not altogether uncommon. 

Stud Tail is the name of the condition that typically starts with hair loss, leaving a large bald spot on the dog’s tail. In some cases, it never goes beyond the bald spot, while others become infected. While it might seem scary at first, stud tail is a very common and treatable skin disease in dogs.

View Table of Contents

What is the Function of the Supracaudal Gland?

The supracaudal gland at the base of the tail contains sebaceous glands. These glands produce secretions of sebum, an oily substance that ensures flexibility and softness of the hair. The sebaceous glands typically produce the sebum within the hair follicles at the roots of the hair. However, if they overproduce the sebum, a condition named supracaudal gland hyperplasia or stud tail could develop.

What are the Symptoms of Stud Tail?

Symptoms are not difficult to spot if you know something about stud tail. If you see any of the symptoms listed below, you might want to reach out to your vet for advice.

  • Matted hair that looks and feels greasy at the tail’s base
  • Hair loss on the surface of the tail anywhere from the base to about 1½ inches down the tail.
  • An inflammation bulge in the affected area
  • Comedones (blackheads) on the skin in that same area on the base of the tail
  • The presence of a wax-like substance on the bald spot
  • Signs of infection on the skin at the base of the tail
  • Redness and a foul odor

If more than one of these symptoms is present simultaneously, it should not be left untreated because the condition can worsen rapidly. Beware that it might start as a seemingly mild cosmetic issue, but ignoring it would not be a good idea. The sooner treatment begins, the better; home remedies are available if noticed early.

Are there Different Causes of Supracaudal Gland Hyperplasia?

There is more than one cause of supracaudal gland hyperplasia. Although the initial signs might seem like an allergic reaction, mange or rashes, it seldom is.

One of the common causes of bald patches on dogs’ tails is excessive oil buildup, as explained above. It can be similar to the buildup of sebum that causes acne in humans.

Outside agitators like fleas or other pests can make their way to the violet gland to get their fill of blood, and make no mistake; they’ll invite all their pest friends along. Infection can set in almost in the blink of an eye. So, if you notice swelling or notice your doggy dude licking and scratching excessively, examine his skin for the presence of fleas. You might prevent severe infections if you can get rid of them soon.

The third cause of tail gland hyperplasia involves extended periods of excessive androgen levels in male dogs. Androgen levels rise during the mating season, but if this condition lasts too long, hair loss in non-inflamed areas can occur, causing discolored, oily patches.

Do only Intact Males Get Stud Tail?

Stud tail may sound like a dude-thing, but occasional cases of females and even males that underwent neutering developing supracaudal gland hyperplasia do occur. And if you wonder, Stud Tail is not contagious, not even in severe cases.

No need for alarm because Stud Tail can be treated. Very few canine parents leave the condition to become severe before reaching out to a vet. In those cases, secondary infections could happen, and dogs whose supracaudal gland hyperplasia is left untreated could eventually develop cysts or tumors.

Now that you have a good idea of the red flags to look out for, you could save your precious pup from developing Stud Tail infections. If your dog’s tail has a bald patch but is not infected, the veterinarian may decide to use topical ointment and antibacterial shampoo. However, if your dog has an infection, the veterinarian will likely give him an antibiotic injection.

What Can you Do to Help Your Dog?

If your dog’s skin shows signs of dermatitis or bacterial infection near the base of the tail, it may be worth keeping an eye on it. Using an anti-seborrheal shampoo with chlorhexidine or benzoyl peroxide may clear up the skin condition. If you catch it early, a topical ointment might help; however, if you see any signs of infection in the affected tail area, it is time to take your furry friend to the vet.

See more:

Mari Serfontein