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N Z Vet J. 2006 Feb;54(1):1-9.

The role of surgery in the management of canine anal furunculosis. A review of the literature and a retrospective evaluation of treatment by surgical resection in 51 dogs.

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Veterinary Surgical Specialties, PO Box 8169, Riccarton, Christchurch, New Zealand.



To retrospectively evaluate the outcome of surgical management of anal furunculosis (AF) in 51 dogs. To compare the outcome of surgery with those of current medical protocols by way of a review of the literature.


Dogs referred for treatment of AF (n=51) were treated by en bloc surgical resection of diseased tissue and primary wound closure. This technique was combined with bilateral anal sacculectomy in all cases in which the anal sacs had not been previously removed. Immunomodulatory therapies were not used, with the exception of post-operative metronidazole antibiosis for 7-10 days. Follow-up was performed by the author using a telephone questionnaire.


Forty-eight dogs were eligible for post-operative follow-up 1.5 to 36 (mean 17.4, median 18) months after surgery. Lesion recurrence, faecal incontinence and stricture formation occurred in 2%, 4% and 13% of dogs, respectively. The percentage of dogs considered by their owners to have an acceptable level of faecal continence and an improved quality of life was 94%.


The aetiopathogenesis of canine AF remains unclear. Whilst recent advances in medical management by the use of various immunomodulatory medications (such as cyclosporine) hold promise, this approach has yet to be refined with respect to affordability, long-term efficacy and morbidity. With meticulous surgical dissection and reconstruction techniques (anoplasty), excellent success rates can be achieved following a single surgical procedure with minimal complications. Surgery remains a viable treatment option, alone or in combination with immunomodulatory medications, until a more thorough understanding of this debilitating disease is achieved.

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