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Perianal Fistula in Dogs

Cost of Treatment: $150 – $3,000

What is Perianal Fistula in Dogs?

Perianal fistula or anal furunculosis is a serious medical condition characterized by chronic, foul-smelling wounds in the tissues surrounding the anus. The exact cause of perianal fistula in dogs is unknown, but many factors can contribute to the development of this lesion.

German shepherds are most commonly affected, but it can also affect other purebred or mixed-breed dogs. Dogs older than 7 years old are at higher risk of suffering from perianal fistulas.

Perianal fistulas are often the result of the contamination of the hair follicles in the perianal area (around the anus) by fecal material and anal sac secretions. This contamination can progress into tissue damage and inflammation.

Dogs who suffer from allergic skin disease and low thyroid hormone levels are more prone to developing perianal fistulas. The likelihood of contamination is greater in dogs with hairy tails.

Symptoms of Perianal Fistula in Dogs

  • Attitude change
  • Straining and painful defecation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Attempts to bite and lick the anal area
  • Purulent discharge from the perianal area 

Treatment of Perianal Fistula in Dogs

The treatment of perianal fistulas can be medical or surgical. In most cases, medical treatment consisting of cleaning and disinfecting the affected area is attempted first.

Immunusurepssive drugs, antibiotics, and antifungal drugs may be needed in some cases. Surgical treatment may be needed in cases where medical treatment is not effective.

Resources for Perianal Fistula in Dogs

1-Perianal Fistula in Dogs by VCA Animal Hospitals

2-Disorders of the Rectum and Anus in Dogs by The Merck Pet Health Manual

Return to the Dog Health Problems glossary.

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