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Stud Tail in Cats (Supracaudal Gland Hyperplasia)

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Stud tail, also known as supracaudal gland infection, supracaudal gland hyperplasia or feline tail gland hyperplasia, is a condition resulting from overactive sebaceous glands located near the base of the tail. The accumulation of secretions cause matting of hair, scales, and crusting.

In cats, it is sometimes called "Stud Tail" because it is most commonly seen in intact male cats. Sebaceous glands increase their secretion of oils in response to male hormones - called androgens. This causes more oils to be released and an accumulation of oils, hence a possible link for the disease being more common in stud cats. Although more common in intact males cats, the condition can also occur in females and castrated males.

Stud tail is generally a cosmetic problem and does not bother the cat unless complications occur. Excessive oil is produced from the sebaceous glands at the base of the tail can cause the skin to stay moist allowing for secondary bacterial infections to occur. Other complications include thinning of hair and darker pigmentation of the hair.

What to Watch For

  • Oily waxy patch of hair on the back at the base of the tail
  • Dense matted hair at the base of the tail
  • Crusting and scaling at the base of the tail
  • Foul smell from area (suggesting bacterial infection)
  • Darker pigmentation of hair at the base of the tail

    Diagnosis

    Stud tail is most commonly diagnosed based on history and a physical examination. An examination of the skin is done to ensure there are no bite wounds, fleas or other problems that could cause similar signs.

    Treatment

    The treatment for stud tail mostly consists of topical therapy. Symptomatic treatments include:

  • Clipping of hair over the affected area can be beneficial

  • Combing the hair to remove debris and excessive oil accumulation

  • Cleansing the area with degreasing shampoos twice daily can help minimize the problem. Medicated antiseborrheic shampoo, which contain benzoyl peroxide or sulfur-salicylic acid are also beneficial.

  • Cleansing with antiseptic solutions (e.g. chlorhexidine)

  • Castration of male cats is often very beneficial and even curative.

  • Occasionally, topical antibiotics or antibiotics with anti-inflammatory drugs are used to try to minimize sebaceous gland activity or to treat associated infections.

  • Secondary infections are often treated with oral antibiotics.

    Home Care

    Keep the area clean and dry. Frequent grooming and combing can disperse the oils and prevent accumulation of the oils in that area, thus preventing the problem.



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