Bulldog Screw Tail: The Hidden Trouble Behind the Bum Wiggles

Bulldog "Screw Tail"

The Hidden Trouble Behind the Bum Wiggles of a Bulldog

We all adore the happy bum wiggles of our Bulldogs welcoming us home. But did you know that their cute, twisted tail, called a “Screw Tail,” can sometimes hide a secret?

Unlike normal tails, the bent tail of a Bulldog can’t be lifted, creating skin folds all around it. These folds, trapped in constant wetness from sweat and heat, and sometimes contaminated with poop, can become a breeding ground for painful, itchy skin infections.

Not all Bulldogs experience this, but for those that do, it’s definitely not a pleasant experience.

Recently, we had two Bulldog patients, Gus (the tan & white British Bulldog featured at the beginning of this blog) and Bob (the lilac coloured British Bulldog pictured above), both battling chronic infections under their screw tails. Bob’s owner shared how he’d struggle to get comfortable, constantly rubbing his backside against the floor for relief. Gus faced the same troubles.

These guys had seen vets multiple times, receiving antibiotics and anti-itch medications, but the relief was only temporary. The root cause—the screw tail—remained. (You can see an example of these infected skin folds in the picture of poor Gus’ bottom below!)

While this condition can be managed with regular cleaning and medications, it often isn’t very successful. Relapses are common, as Gus and Bob experienced.

That’s where surgery comes in.

It’s the most effective, definitive treatment, involving removing the abnormal tail bones and the troublesome skin folds.

Caudectomy Surgery

The surgery consists of removal of the abnormally bent bones of the bull dogs’ tail and the associated skin folds caused by this twisted tail. This surgery is not for the faint hearted, it takes a vet and an assistant about an hour to hour and a half to perform this complicated procedure. Care must be taken to avoid damaging nerves and the wall of the rectum which is very close to the surgery site. 

Gus' tail before surgery with margins drawn out during the surgical planning.

Gus' tail after surgery with sutures placed.

Recovery

Pain is managed with a combination of anti -inflammatory and opioid medications and Laser therapy. Laser therapy has the added advantage of helping the tissues heal quicker. The recovery period if between 10 -14 days at which point the stitches are removed and the bum wagging can begin again!

We’re thrilled to report that both Gus and Bob made full recoveries without complications!

Could your Bulldog have a problem? Are they constantly:

  • rubbing their bottom?
  • guarding their backside?
  • seem uncomfortable? 
  • require frequent vet visits for tail infections?

If you answered YES to any of the above, then they might need a little extra help through surgery.

Give us a call at Lynbrook Vet (03) 8373 0301 or our sister practice, Berwick Clyde Vet (03) 5902 7087 and we’d be happy to help you and your Bulldog.

Pictured Above: Dr Kunal & Bob the Bulldog at his post operative check up and suture removal appointment.

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