Screwtail in a Bulldog

Cursed with funky, misshapen vertebrae, Bulldog tails can plug the anus.



Help! My bulldog has screwtail. I’d never heard of such a thing. What do I do?


Dr. Nichol:

Screwtail is a problem seen in brachcephalic dog breeds (pushed-in faces like bulldogs and pugs). It’s caused by malformed vertebrae in the tail that cause it to grow in the shape of a corkscrew. It’s a problem if it grows in such a way that it interferes with the dog passing stool from the anus. It has also been a problem in bulldogs if the tail creates a pit or dimple at the rump because of the extra skin that bulldogs have in this area. The result can be a deep severe bacterial skin infection that is sometimes best treated surgically. Like many problems, it is best managed early-like under 16 weeks of age. It’s just one more reason that I’m glad that we humans don’t have tails. What a pain.