Dog Perianal Fistulas: Rubi’s Healing Journey

Rubi: Dog Perianal Fistula Success Story

What are dog perianal fistulas?

Dog perianal fistulas are tunnel-like structures around a dog’s anus. The structures are usually observed as small oozing holes in the skin before they develop into larger tunnels. Although this condition can occur in any dog, German Shepherds (GSDs) are most commonly affected.

According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, the position of their tail, which is often carried low between the hip bones, covering the anus, is thought to be a predisposing factor. Affected dogs may have concurrent chronic diarrhea because of inflammatory bowel disease; in fact, the two conditions may be related. Dog perianal fistulas show many similarities to Crohn’s disease in people.

Dog perianal fistulas can cause severe pain. For this reason, we recommend immediately scheduling a consult with Dr. Smith to develop a solid care plan.


How do we treat dog perianal fistulas at NTVS?

We recommend the following regimen for treating dog perianal fistulas:

  • Cyclosporin: Give [1.75-5 mg/kg] once daily. We will provide a specific dose for your dog.
  • Ketoconazole: Give [12-15 mg/kg] once daily. We will provide a specific dose for your dog.
  • Metronidazole: Give 500 mg once daily.
  • Four Gentlemen Eastern Herbal Powder (veterinary authorization required to purchase).
  • Hydrocortisone cream 2.5%: Apply to affected areas twice daily.
  • Metamucil or psyllium husk powder: Add 1 tablespoon of powdered Metamucil to each meal. You can purchase Metamucil over the counter at any local drugstore. Read the label before purchasing to make sure there are no added ingredients, only “psyllium.”


Here’s a testimonial about dog perianal fistulas treatment (it made our day)!

The following success story is from our clients Julie and Brian:

We lost our German Shepherd Axle at the age of 5 due to complications of having dog perianal fistulas, which Rubi was just recently diagnosed before his passing (litter mates).

Our previous vet had no experience in treating it, only diagnosing it, and even though I did the research, he would not listen.

During my research to find a vet who had experience, I came across Dr. Smith’s name and Natchez Trace. We made an appointment, and the rest is history.

My husband took Rubi to the first visit and Dr. Smith’s approach on how to tackle the disease won my husband over.

Dr. Smith got onto the floor with Rubi since she was in so much pain from the dog perianal fistulas to lift her tail and examine her.

The way he described the plan to tackle it (holistic and conventional), telling my husband straight up, no-nonsense how it is going to be a trial and error type process and what works for some may not work for others, but making my husband feel confident that if we were in it for the long run, we would figure it out together to get her healed/in remission, which she is now!

The emails back and forth communication during this time, since we do live about 45 min to an hour away helping answer questions, sending pics, etc. from the team is what has kept us coming back.

He has listened to us from the very first visit to all our concerns! Everyone’s compassion for our crew, even when we lost our 4th dog last year and had to let y’all know was top-notch!

I know you asked for a brief description, but with our very first experience, it is hard to be brief due to this terrible disease that takes so many GSDs from their owners.

But the way he got on Rubi’s level, we have never had a vet get on the floor with any of our pets to earn their trust when sick. And then the straightforward treatments, not beating around the bush, way of handling things.

Thank you, Dr. Smith and team, for always taking care of our babies, even when they are a handful!


Do you need help with a dog perianal fistula?

Dog perianal fistulas can be scary, but please know there is hope. Dr. Smith has years of experience treating perianal fistulas in unique ways, and he’d love to share his knowledge with you.

Contact NTVS today via live chat to set up an appointment with Dr. Smith.

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