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Anal Furunculosis

A hypoallergenic diet is essential for dogs with this condition

An auto-immune disease thought to be related to food intolerance, colitis or reactions to bacteria.

This condition is almost exclusively seen in the German Shepherd, occasionally it does affect other breeds (Border Collie). The cause of this disease is not known but studies have shown that it is an auto-immune disease which may be related to food intolerance, colitis (most dogs affected will have a history of colitis) or reactions to bacteria on the skin and around the rectum.

Anal furunculosis has been linked to irritable bowel syndrome and is thought to be similar to Crohn’s disease in humans. A hypoallergenic diet is essential. The symptoms include ulceration and abscessation around the anus and anal glands, painful and ineffective straining during defecation and urination. The dog will also have difficulty passing faeces and will probably lick and bite the affected area.

The dogs will usually have a discharge and have a tendency for loose stools. The disease is debilitating for the dog causing obvious pain and is frustrating for the owner.

Nutritional management of this condition

A pet parent with a dog suffering this condition should involve a diet that is:

• hypoallergenic (for fewer allergic reactions)
• highly digestible and low residue (no bulkers/fillers)
• low fat and free of all treats and extras

Elimination Diet

  • Follow a strict elimination diet – this is vital.
  • For the first 6 to 8 weeks all treats, tit-bits and other foods must be cut out. A sensitive dog may react to even the smallest piece of unsuitable food.
  • Try a diet that contains a novel source of protein or carbohydrate – this may be beneficial. This means that the animal is unlikely to have eaten these particular ingredients before so will not have had the chance to build up a reaction. Duck is an example of novel protein, as is pork – more unusual ingredients..
  • The success of nutritional management depends on feeding the correct amount for each individual. It is essential that intake meets but does not exceed requirements.
  • Overfeeding may cause symptoms to reoccur.
  • See Elimination Diets for further information.

Speak to a Pet Nutritionist

For help with this issue please contact our team of expert pet nutritionists for advice.

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