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What is Stud Tail?

Although stud tail can occasionally affect neutered males and both spayed and unaltered females, the excess oil that results in stud tail is generally caused by the raised hormonal levels that occur as a young unneutered male cat experiences puberty, becoming sexually mature and capable of mating with a female. Whereas in human beings the excess oil usually clogs pores on the face and back, on cats it clogs the pores where the back and the tail meet and, at times, spreads down the tail. The cat appears to have blackheads in between the hairs on the tail, the fur in the area becomes very greasy, and the area can become infected, raw, and very sore. A mature unaltered male cat is called a stud, and this condition affects the tail. A cat that is experiencing stud tail is very likely quite uncomfortable and should be seen by a veterinarian.

Stud tail is a fairly rare skin condition that occurs mainly on the base of the tail in cats. It is similar to acne in humans and results from excess skin oil, which is referred to medically as keratosebaceous debris, in the rear area of the cat’s body. 

Stud Tail Average Cost

From 245 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$300

Symptoms of Stud Tail in Cats

Unlike many internal veterinary conditions, the symptoms of an external condition such as stud tail are quite easily observable to any pet owner that pets, handles, or interacts with their cat. If you notice the following symptoms, your cat is likely experiencing significant discomfort and it is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian:

  • Greasy fur near the rear of the back and on the tail
  • In cats with light-colored fur, a yellowing of the fur near or on the tail
  • Loss of hair on or near the tail
  • Comedones, or blackheads, on or near the tail
  • Raw, red, and/or swollen skin on or near the tail
  • Red bumps on or near the tail
  • Pus on or near the tail
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Causes of Stud Tail in Cats

Stud tail is caused by overactivity of the sebaceous glands near the rear of the back and on the tail, which results in an overabundance of sebum or skin oil in that area. It is believed that the most common cause of this over-activity is the high level of hormones that are secreted when unneutered male cats experience puberty, their transition to being a stud, or a male capable of breeding. For reasons that are not fully understood, in very rare cases, some neutered males, unaltered females, and spayed females experience stud tail as well.

The overabundance of skin oils in the region near the base of the tail causes greasy fur and clogs hair follicles, resulting in comedones, which are commonly called blackheads, in the region. These comedones can become infected, causing swelling, hair loss, and pain.

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Diagnosis of Stud Tail in Cats

While diagnosis of stud tail is often straightforward and based upon visible observations, it is still very important that this condition is diagnosed by a veterinary professional. The reason for this is that your veterinarian can rule out other skin conditions and is able to both diagnose and treat secondary infections. In order to diagnose stud tail as well as secondary infections caused by stud tail, your vet will likely utilize the following procedures:

  • Ask you questions about your observations that have caused you to be concerned about your cat’s health.
  • Determine the likelihood of stud tail based upon your cat’s gender and whether your cat in altered or unaltered.
  • Thorough physical examination, concentrating on skin and fur near and on the base of the tale.
  • Test your cat’s level of sensitivity when the affected skin is touched.
  • Take a bacterial culture sample from the infected area to diagnose the particular kind of infection.
  • Rule out a flea infestation
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Treatment of Stud Tail in Cats

If your cat is diagnosed with stud tail, your veterinarian will recommend treatment based on the severity of the case, which will be determined by the appearance and sensitivity of the skin and whether or not the skin is infected. If the affected cat is an unneutered male, it is likely that your veterinarian will suggest castrating the cat in order to lower the hormone levels. In addition to castration for unaltered males, your vet will prescribe the following:

For mild to moderate cases of stud tail:

  • Wash the affected area with a degreasing shampoo and/or antibacterial shampoo
  • Apply topical ointment such as benzoyl peroxide
  • Use a buster collar to prevent self trauma

In addition to the treatments above, severe cases of stud tail may require:

  • Using clippers to remove the hair from the affected area
  • Steroids to reduce swelling
  • Antibiotics to fight secondary infection
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Recovery of Stud Tail in Cats

The main goals with stud tail in cats is to avoid infection and help your cat to be comfortable. A cat that has received antibiotics and steroids will likely recover from any secondary infections in a matter of days or a week. For most cats, consistent washing of the area and application of the ointment will help to resolve the condition over time. In rare cases, as sometimes happens with acne for some human adults, stud tail may be a chronic problem for some cats. These cats will need your long-term help to keep the area clean and treated. It is important that you schedule follow up appointments with your vet in order to avoid any further discomfort or infection for your cat.

Stud tail can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your cat is at risk of stud tail, start searching for pet insurance today. Wag!’s pet insurance comparison tool lets you compare plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Embrace. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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Stud Tail Average Cost

From 245 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$300

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Stud Tail Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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dog-breed-icon

domestic house caT

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one year

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Dandruff Like Appearance In The His For Deep Down By The Scalp The Route Of The Tail Is Greasy And Appearance Hussey Bloody Discharge From His Eyes Daily

What's wrong with my cat

Nov. 1, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It is difficult to say from your description what might be going on, but he does sound like he needs to see a veterinarian. He may have a parasite or an infection, and there may be medications that can help him quite quickly. Once you have him seen by a veterinarian, they will be able to let you know more what might be going on, and what treatment might help him.

Nov. 1, 2020

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Louie

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Mix breed mancoon

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9 Years

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Mild severity

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4 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss Puss Coming Out Of The Tail

Do you think my cat could have stud tail He's supposed to be fixed. But his hair has fallen out of his tail near his back. He's gotten pretty skittish around people touching him too.

July 24, 2018

Louie's Owner

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4 Recommendations

Whilst stud tail is more often seen in intact cats, it is still possible for neutered males and even female cats to be affected by the condition. The presence of pus would indicate a secondary infection, but it would be advisable to visit your Veterinarian for an examination due to the rare nature of this condition. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 24, 2018

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Stud Tail Average Cost

From 245 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$300

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