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Thread: Perianal Fistules

  1. #1
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    Default Perianal Fistules

    Does anyone have any experience with Perianal fistulas in dogs?

    Zeus went to the vet on Monday last week and this is what he appears to have.It's still at the very early stage and more like little ulcers on the outside of his bum.
    Nothing was detected inside.

    Supposedly it occurs in German Shepherds a bit. I think it has something to do with their bushy tail and how they carry it low.

    Zeus's tail isn't overly bushy but it is thick and he does carry it low a lot.

    What worries me is the cost of the medication and the fact that there is no guarantee it will work and he may be on it for the rest of his life. He's only just turned 3!

    My vet has never administered it for a dog Zeus's size. She said she thinks the last dog she got it for was about 30 kilo's or so and the tablets were about $20 a day! Zeus is 70 kilo's.

    The medication has to come from a compounding pharmacy which will be on the mainland as there mustn't be any here in Tassie.

    This will get very expensive very quickly so was just wondering if anyone has come across this before or new where to get the medication cheaper from?

    Cheers everyone.
    If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them. ~Phil Pastoret

  2. #2
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    No idea but, oh the horror. How the hell does a dog's tail poke a hole in the dog's bum and if a GSD can get it, why not cattle dogs and other dogs that carry their tail low a fair bit of the time?

    I always thought fistulas (mostly women who have had really big babies get them), were best fixed by stitching up the hole(s).

    What were the symptoms? Ie what made the vet look to check there?

  3. #3
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    tkandz,

    I am so sorry for you...how terrible to find out your dog has something like this. I've never heard of this till now and had to Google it and my jaw dropped reading yet another serious health problem common in GSDs.

    I got my torch and checked Chloe and breathed a sigh of relief as she doesn't have it...well not yet anyway...but she does have ear problems which she will have for life. I did say Chloe will be my last GSD and this is just another reason to keep that promise.

    I did find this which might help...but doesn't sound too promising.
    How Perianal Fistulas Occur

    What You Need to Know About Perianal Fistula in Dogs

    When will breeders be held accountable for what they create.
    Chloe & Zorro
    Rottweilers and German Shepherds are Family

  4. #4
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    Thanks for your replies.
    I wasn't holding my breath on anyone knowing much about it. I knew nothing about it until a week ago!
    I'll try and explain what my vet said about how it occurs.

    Dog's who have bushy low set tails can start to breed bacteria under their tail around their anus. I think because the tail being held low helps to create a warm, moist environment there. The bacteria starts to breed and the body has an immune response which tries to fight the bacteria.
    What seems to happen then is that the body keeps fighting and ends up fighting itself which causes the fistules.
    It's a bit like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis in humans. I'm not sure where you got the tail poking a hole in the bum bit from Hya?

    Anyway they need to be given an immune suppressant drug(the expensive bit) to stop the body attacking itself, and are generally also given prednisolone as well.

    Zeus isn't actually at the Fistula stage yet. He just has what looks like ulcers almost or areas where the skin looks raw on his anus.
    The vet picked it up Hya because I told them to look at is as sometimes his bum looks red and sometimes it may have a bit of blood on it.
    Please note that he doesn't seem to be in any pain. He doesn't lick at it, he toilets fine and you wouldn't know unless you looked at it that something wasn't quite right.

    He was in at the vet for blood tests and a general check over.

    His anal sacs seem to leak a bit too and are not helping the problem.

    So glad your girl doesn't have it Dogman. Thanks for the links too. I think I have read just about everything I can on the subject.

    I'm just waiting on the vet to get back to me and tell me how much the medication will cost. I'm also worried about any side effects that may occur because of the medication.
    I'm also hoping like hell that my pet insurance covers it.
    If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them. ~Phil Pastoret

  5. #5
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    Try here: Perianal Fistula in Dogs | VCA Animal Hospitals
    Id heard that GSD's can get this. Ive owned 3 GSD's, never seen it so far. Bugger all to do with how a dog hangs its tail by the way, its an "Inside the body" thing, not outside. Usually a small tear that has healed in a wrong way. You see it a lot in female humans having hysterectomies, fistula forms between the vagine and anus. So you are lucky he's a boy.

    Very expensive drugs over prolonged period of time, or surgery, or both. 20% will have it reoccurring and require further rounds of treatment.

    Because a fistula is a tube that has formed, where is should not, you wont want the anal glands product leaking into the tube, so have them emptied, and keep them empty using a LOT of roughage, water and exercise.
    As gastric juices occur the entire length of the digestive track, a fistula is literally eaten by the gastric juices, as it dissolves the tissue, much as it would dissolve any 'meat' which slows healing.

    the two drugs used in treatment of fistulas are always the same: for humans and dogs cyclosporine and ketoconazole
    cyclosporine suppresses the immune system, so opportunistic infection can occur
    ketoconazole is an anti fungal med usually applied topically. Bum cream. Nizoril is the same drug, costs $19.50 at a chemist. Go buy some dont get off the vet for whatever he'll be charging.
    Cyclosporine: (an immune suppressant used in transplant surgery, sadly, there is a well-known link between immunosuppression and cancer, $50 for x 30 capsules for humans. Generally vets like to add a bloody huge profit on meds. And this one is prescription only.

    Its not great news. As the treatment will more than likely be expensive, over a long period of time 6-18 months. And no garauntees treatment will work. Also, infections that occur will need aggressive treatment due o the dogs suppressed immune system, often IV antibiotics in hospital, not at home treatment.

    Fingers crossed insurance will cover. I cant see why it would not, it cant possibly be a pre existing condition.
    poor pooch.

  6. #6
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    I'm not sure where you got the tail poking a hole in the bum bit from Hya?
    Hi tkandz

    Fistula means hole that connects two bits that should not be connected ie common in women to have a hole torn between vagina and urethra which means they leak pee all the time - this can be fixed with surgery...

    So you said the hole was caused by low hanging tail and I couldn't figure out how... I didn't think of bacteria eating holes. Ie the problem is caused by bacteria which are facilitated by the low hanging tail... And then the whole thing is aggravated by stomach acid and etc.

    And then I read Dogman's link - urk.

  7. #7
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    All of us GSD owners hear that our breed has many health problems but unfortunately it's true...

    Disorders by Breed - German shepherd dog - LIDA Dogs - Faculty of Veterinary Science - The University of Sydney
    Chloe & Zorro
    Rottweilers and German Shepherds are Family

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