Stud Tail in Cats

What is stud tail?

Also known as supracaudal gland hyperplasia or tail gland hyperplasia, stud tail is caused by hypersecretion of the glands in the supracaudal organ (an organ on the base of the tail).

Sebaceous glands secrete oils (known as sebum) which lubricate the skin, preventing dryness and irritation. The sebaceous glands are mostly found in dorsal, eyelids, chin, the surface of the base of the tail, lips, scrotum, and prepuce and are connected to the hair follicles.

The glands also play a role in territorial marking and any observant cat owner will have seen their cat rubbing his face and chin along objects. Over time this rubbing will leave greasy patches.

Male hormones increase secretions. This is why stud tail occurs more in entire male cats (known as studs), although it can affect females and desexed (neutered) males also.

Symptoms

  • Hair at the base of the tail becomes matted and greasy, thin, fall out and develop a rancid odour
  • Comedones (blackheads)
  • Yellow to black, waxy debris on the skin and hairs of the tail base. [1]
  • Secondary bacterial folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles) may be present

Diagnosis

Physical examination can diagnose stud tail.

Treatment

Treatment of stud tail involves washing twice a day with an antiseborrheic shampoo. Your veterinarian may clip the hair to permit better penetration of the shampoo.

Neutering may relieve the cat of stud tail.

Antibiotics to treat any secondary infections.

References:

[1] The Cornell Book of Cats (p. 169)



Julia Wilson is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. She enjoys photography, gardening and running in her spare time. Full author bio Contact Julia