Many dog owners hear about the viol’s gland for the first time when it causes problems. What should be done if the four-legged friend suffers from an enlarged viol’s gland? We give tips!
What is the Viol’s Gland in the Dog?
In dogs, wolves, foxes, cats, and some other mammals, the viol’s gland is located on the top of the tail. It consists of several sebum glands that secrete fragrant secretions. Wild animals communicate with each other with these scents. The secretions of the fox glands are – allegedly – reminiscent of the scent of violets. That is why the Viol got its name based on the Latin word “viola” for “violet”.
In dogs, the viol’s gland sits on the upper half of the tail, more precisely above the tenth caudal vertebra. It can be up to nine inches long. Holders can feel them as a minimal, slight bump. If you don’t feel anything, don’t worry: not every dog has a violin gland.
Since dogs no longer use these scent glands for communication, this evolutionary legacy is superfluous for them today. Warning: Some dog owners tend to confuse the violin gland with anal glands.
Tail Gland Hyperplasia: Inflamed Viol’s Gland
Dogs no longer need the viol gland for communication – it can still cause trouble. Tail gland hyperplasia, a pathological enlargement of the viol’s gland, can occur. Males have more problems with the viol’s gland than females. In addition, some breeds such as the Siberian Husky or Hovawart seem to get sick more often.
Symptoms of Tail Gland Hyperplasia
The following symptoms on the upper half of the tail are typical of problems with the viol’s gland:
- hair loss;
- an unpleasant smell;
- increased sebum secretion, the hair sticky and greasy;
- blackheads, recognizable by small black spots on reddened skin;
- painful inflammation, pustules;
- ulcers, abscesses, and even tumors on the base of the tail.
Cause of Tail Gland Hyperplasia
Viol gland problems are mostly related to a hormone imbalance. Tail gland hyperplasia is most common in older males who have testicular tumors or high levels of male sex hormones. In bitches, an enlarged viol’s gland is associated with cysts on the ovaries. Castrated animals are less likely to get sick.
Therapy of the Enlarged Viol’s Gland
The earlier therapy starts, the easier it is. See your vet at the first sign of violent gland problems. This checks whether other diseases such as a testicular tumor are causing the changes.
In the early stages, local treatment with a benzoyl peroxide ointment, which is used for acne in people, is sufficient. Once the first inflammation has developed, treatment with antibiotics for several weeks is advisable. Abscesses must be cut open or expressed by the vet.
If an uncastrated four-legged friend suffers from the consequences of an enlarged violet gland, castration can help. Often the viol’s gland then recedes by itself. In the case of recurring problems or tumors of the viol’s gland, doctors recommend surgical removal of the affected tissue.
From the Inflamed Viol’s Gland to the Amputation of the Tail
A shock for many dog owners: What starts with a small bald spot can lead to the amputation of the tail.
Because if the viol’s gland is inflamed again and again and abscesses or tumors form, small interventions or operations are required on a regular basis. Removing the viol’s gland also involves surgery on the tail. Since there is little tissue and skin here, healing is often not possible.
This can result in amputation of the tail. In some cases, it is only discovered during or after an operation that the tail can no longer be saved. Surely unfamiliar for dog owners, but: In the long term, amputation of the tail is better than the dog suffering from recurring inflammation for years.
If the Viol’s Gland is Enlarged: Pay Attention to the Correct Food
Anything that supports the health of skin and coat makes sense in connection with the therapy of an enlarged viol’s gland. So make sure you have high-quality food. Some dog owners report that the viol’s gland has become symptom-free after switching to protein-rich food without grain.
Ask the vet about high-dose unsaturated fatty acids for your dog. You can mix these in the feed as a dietary supplement. They help the skin and coat to regenerate. However, patience is required: an increase in unsaturated fatty acids takes around six weeks before visible improvements in the tail skin can be expected. The dietary supplements round off the therapy at the veterinarian but do not replace them.
What are the Chances of Recovery?
Tail gland hyperplasia can be treated acutely well. However, in a period from a few weeks to two years, many dogs recur problems with the viol’s gland. A castration can enormously increase the chances of recovery, depending on the initial situation: In the case of a testicular tumor in connection with a tail root hyperplasia, there are good prospects of permanent healing after a castration.
In some dogs, relapses occur at shorter and shorter intervals.
In the case of these four-legged friends, amputation of the tail may be the better solution in the long term. Where there is no rod, there is no more viol’s gland. A decisive but guaranteed therapeutic success.