May issue

May issue
May issue

Friday, 8 June 2012

Pain in the backside

My six-year-old neutered male German Shepherd has just been diagnosed with anal furunculosis.

He is on Atopica four times a day which will hopefully improve his condition. I have never met anyone with a dog who has this so I was hoping your readers who have experienced it can help with with any tips or advice?

It is daunting to read about as recommendations can vary from bathing using diltuted hibiscrub to putting sudocream on any sores, and some advise diet changes, too. Any help would be most welcome.

Lisa, by email

Richard Allport, vet, advises...

Unfortunately anal furunculosis is quite a common condition in German Shepherd Dogs. It is an autoimmune disease (that is, the immune system mistakes normal healthy body tissue as foreign and begins attacking it) leading in this case to fissures and inflammation of the area in and around the anus. Dogs that suffer from anal furunculosis also often have IBD type symptoms and sometimes an eye condition called pannus. Anal furunculosis has many similarities to Crohn’s disease in humans.

Drugs such as Atopica suppress the immune system but often either don’t control symptoms successfully, or can have adverse side effects. Even if they do suppress symptoms, the beneficial effect may eventually decrease with time.

I have had a great deal of success with natural medicines, though not 100%. One of my favourite patients, a GSD called Paddy, is doing exceptionally well and at present all the lesions have healed and he has no symptoms. This has been achieved by the use of supplements of Vitamin E and Zinc, homoeopathic medicines (mainly potentised Nitric acid) and acupuncture. Paddy has a regular train trip out to my centre at Potters Bar once a month and I’m sure he is adored by every train passenger he meets!

Every case is different, and certainly cleaning with hibiscrub can help, though I prefer a more natural cleanser and soothing agent such as Propolis spray or cream, or Colloidal silver.

I do find changing to a natural (raw meaty bone based diet) helps most dogs, as does regular exercise, avoiding weight gain, and all the usual healthy lifestyle changes.

Good luck with this problem – it’s a really unpleasant condition to happen to a dog, but there is a great deal that can be done to help.


  1. thanks for all that info ,my 7 year old GSD has the condition and is on Atopica and steroids ,although it has cleared up a lot the vet wants to try cryo surgery as the healing process has slowed down .I am not keen on this so am just trying to find out all the alternatives I can try before going down that road.

  2. My Shep had anal furunculosis in April 2011. Atopica worked for her then. Now it's come back again and she is taking atopica and will be for the rest of her little life. Although this drug is very expensive £95 for 15 days it's a small price to pay for all the love and fun she has given me over the past 13 years.