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Perianal Fistula


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#1 Little Bo Boop

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 05:34 PM

Anybody have any experience with this condition in Border Collies? From what I understand, it happens a lot with GSD's but most of the people/vets I've talked to said they'd not seen it much in Border Collies. Well it seems that my 6 year old Border Collie has this condition, and so far we've not been able to clear it up. She started out having difficulty having a BM, and thats when I noticed the lesions. I took her in and the vet did a biopsy to rule out any kind of cancer (that came back fine thank god) anyway we put her on a round of antibiotics, seemed to help for a while. Then she started running really poorly at trials (very unlike her, wasn't listening etc...) took her back in, turns out she had a secondary infection (along with a fox tail on her eardrum :rolleyes: no wonder she wasn't listening ;-( ) anyway, just finished the second round of antibiotics (Clavamox) but her bum is starting to look bad again. I know there are all sorts of treatments for this, and that it's supposed to be very hard to clear up, but wondering if anybody had any experience with this. I researched a little on line, and it would appear that this topical ointment is showing good results...Tacrolimus ointment...anybody familiar with this? I'd really like to get this cleared up before it does any perm. damage/scarring. I imagine its rather painful as well, although she doesn't appear to be in any pain, just not acting herself. Thanks for any info at all,


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#2 Liz P

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 08:36 PM

How long was she on antibiotics before you stopped?

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#3 bcpon

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 08:42 PM

I had issues with my girl when she was about 4-5 years old. She had an impacted anal gland that ruptured and then we couldn't get it to heal. There were about 3-4 open, draining infected areas around her anus that lasted for months. We did everything from topical ointment to antibiotics to chinese medicine and tea bags. Yup...I held tea bags on my girl's butt 3 times a day for a week. Needless to say we both LOVED that treatment! It certainly made it hard to relax with a nice cup of tea afterwards! Finally after months of messing around my vet put her on a big dose of prednisone and then we slowly weaned her off it. I can't remember if we did antibiotics at the same time but seem to recall that we did. Anyway, after a loooooooong process, the pred. did the trick very quickly. Her lesions were never as deep as some of the ones that I read about when I was doing research, but they were nasty. She never had any other problems with that area.

I think there are several different things to try and this is just what worked for us. I don't like steriods but we'd reached the point where we were pretty desperate to try anything. From what I read this is not the treatment of choice, but it did work for us. I've had good results for other health issues (elbow hygromas) using treatments that weren't the ones most favored, so I figured why not give it a try. For the record, she had a very low tail set...very shepherd like.

Good luck and I hope your pup finds some relief!

#4 Little Bo Boop

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 09:09 PM

Thanks a lot for the reply. Yes I've seen where predinisone was used with some success as well. Spree's condition isn't as bad as some I've read about. She has no pus or giant lesions and its not draining or stinky or anything like that. Just some fissures and some mild/light bleeding around them. She also carries her tail very close, extremely close as a matter if fact, so I'm sure thats a factor. Ive also read where they link stress as a factor in this condition, and she is a pretty tightly wound dog to say the least so... I have no problem trying anything if it'll work ;-) There's a pretty good GSD site that offers all kinds of diff. options to try.

Liz, they started her on 3 weeks of Sulfasalazin, then 3 more weeks of that, they then found the secondary infection, and she was started on 2 weeks of Clavamox, then subsequently 2 more weeks of CLavamox 250 mg. I've been spraying her with the Furazone spray to kind of dry it up and see if that doesn't help some...I guess it wouldn't hurt to try the predinsone eh? I wouldn't want to have her on that while we were trialing, but as its the summer not much going on and she can take it easy.
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#5 Northof49

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 04:27 PM

Thanks a lot for the reply. Yes I've seen where predinisone was used with some success as well. Spree's condition isn't as bad as some I've read about. She has no pus or giant lesions and its not draining or stinky or anything like that. Just some fissures and some mild/light bleeding around them. She also carries her tail very close, extremely close as a matter if fact, so I'm sure thats a factor. Ive also read where they link stress as a factor in this condition, and she is a pretty tightly wound dog to say the least so... I have no problem trying anything if it'll work ;-) There's a pretty good GSD site that offers all kinds of diff. options to try.

Liz, they started her on 3 weeks of Sulfasalazin, then 3 more weeks of that, they then found the secondary infection, and she was started on 2 weeks of Clavamox, then subsequently 2 more weeks of CLavamox 250 mg. I've been spraying her with the Furazone spray to kind of dry it up and see if that doesn't help some...I guess it wouldn't hurt to try the predinsone eh? I wouldn't want to have her on that while we were trialing, but as its the summer not much going on and she can take it easy.


I know on some of the sites I have read on GSD's and this condition is that they consider it an autoimmune problem, so you may want to check that out as well.

#6 Northof49

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 04:34 PM

Thanks a lot for the reply. Yes I've seen where predinisone was used with some success as well. Spree's condition isn't as bad as some I've read about. She has no pus or giant lesions and its not draining or stinky or anything like that. Just some fissures and some mild/light bleeding around them. She also carries her tail very close, extremely close as a matter if fact, so I'm sure thats a factor. Ive also read where they link stress as a factor in this condition, and she is a pretty tightly wound dog to say the least so... I have no problem trying anything if it'll work ;-) There's a pretty good GSD site that offers all kinds of diff. options to try.

Liz, they started her on 3 weeks of Sulfasalazin, then 3 more weeks of that, they then found the secondary infection, and she was started on 2 weeks of Clavamox, then subsequently 2 more weeks of CLavamox 250 mg. I've been spraying her with the Furazone spray to kind of dry it up and see if that doesn't help some...I guess it wouldn't hurt to try the predinsone eh? I wouldn't want to have her on that while we were trialing, but as its the summer not much going on and she can take it easy.


I know on some of the sites I have read on GSD's this condition is considered an autoimmune problem, so you may want to check that out as well. THe use of prednisone is indicated as being used to suppress the immune system, so you may want to consider something like Astragulus which is an adaptogen and is used in autoimmune diseases to bring the immune system back into balance. I have personally used Astragulus myself with one of my dogs with Pemphigus and combined with the homemade supplement I use (which was developed by Wendy Volhard many years ago) was very successful in putting the pemphigus into remission and remain there for 6 years. A couple of times of high stress started to trigger the Pemphigus again, and a short session on Astragulus did the trick. I know others have successfully used Astragulus for other immune problems as well.

#7 jlw

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 07:00 PM

I had a long bout with this. Cyclosporin was what finally cleared it up. There's a great yahoo group where you can get tons of information and support. Go to yahoo and look for PF-L

Good luck.

#8 Liz P

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 07:51 PM

Sorry for the late reply, a bit scatterbrained right now because of my schedule. You will need to treat with immunosupressive drugs to clear it up. Antibiotics alone with not work. There are several other conditions that can be mistaken for perianal fistulas so first make sure you have the correct diagnosis.

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#9 Little Bo Boop

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 05:18 PM

Just an update (in case anyone else has a dog with this condition) Decided to try the Tacrolimus ointment (its a human immunosuppressive medication) and it seems to be working (much to the surprise of my vet ; -) kind of pricey, $208 for a tube. But its supposed to be 3 months worth of treatment, so it works out cheaper I think, than all the rounds of antibiotic, that weren't working anyway. I apply it once a day, wearing gloves. Doesn't seem to hurt her or cause any discomfort, and her butt looks way better. The lesions, and the holes seem to be almost totally gone. So fingers crossed that she stays sound ; -)

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#10 Lenajo

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 09:58 AM

Northof49 where do you find information on the Volhard supplement? I tried googling, but I think I will have to be more specific.

What form of astralgus are you using? powder? pill?

BoPeep I'm so happy to hear your dog got some relief from this. My friend's dog finally had to euthanized because they couldn't get it under control - he was older, about 13 I think.

#11 Little Bo Boop

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 01:09 PM

Northof49 where do you find information on the Volhard supplement? I tried googling, but I think I will have to be more specific.

What form of astralgus are you using? powder? pill?

BoPeep I'm so happy to hear your dog got some relief from this. My friend's dog finally had to euthanized because they couldn't get it under control - he was older, about 13 I think.



Thanks ;-) me too. Although Spree's condition was probably not as severe as some cases I've read about, it was still concerning, and she was in some discomfort, when having a BM. I unerstand that with this treatment, even if they show to be recovered, it can and does reoccur...so guess fingers crossed that it doesn't, but will be keeping an eye on it. Sorry to hear about your friends dog ;-( was he a Border Collie as well? From what I understand its not a real common condition in the breed.
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#12 Lenajo

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 01:13 PM

yes, Border Collie. His name was Ben and he is much missed. He and your dog are the only 2 BCs I've ever known to have this problem.

#13 Little Bo Boop

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 02:58 PM

yes, Border Collie. His name was Ben and he is much missed. He and your dog are the only 2 BCs I've ever known to have this problem.



They say that its primarily GSD's that get this, and they attribute it to the low and close tail set. I've also read where stress can be a factor as well. Was wondering, was Ben a pretty wired dog? and how did he carry his tail? Spree is very intense, lot of eye (can be sticky) and will actually drool sometimes when she's working, she gets so amped up. She also carries her tail very close up btwn her legs. Thats really too bad your friends were unable to get a handle on this with poor Ben ;-( that must have been heartbreaking, so sorry.


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#14 Lenajo

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 03:01 PM

tail always down, but not clamped. Very serious dog but not wired.


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