Caudectomy is usually performed to comply with the breed standards or cosmetic reason. However, it may also be indicated as a therapeutic procedure. Cosmetic caudectomy is prohibited in many countries due to some known early and late complications
The purpose of this study was to determine the common complications of caudectomy and their prevalence in Tehran province-IRAN.
This study was done in two separate phases. In first Phase records of 93 cosmetic caudectomy performed from 2002 to 2003 in two veterinary teaching hospitals and four private clinics were reviewed to determine the common complications and their frequencies according to owner's report. Owners who never report complications were contacted via telephone for follow-up. In second phase records of 21 patients who suffered from perineal myiasis (17 cases) and tail chasing (4 cases) were reviewed to determine their probable relevancy with caudectomy.
In first phase, review of medical records or telephone contact with the owners revealed that 22 out of 93 caudectomy cases (23.6%) had post surgical complications (2 sudden death, 9 wound dehiscence and infection, 5 tail stump lick granuloma, 4 perianal myiasis, 2 vaginal myiasis) within 2 to 124 days after operation. In 16 out of 22 cases (73%) complications started within 2-24 days and in 6 cases (27%) started within 52-124 days post surgically. The results from the second phase of this study showed that 6 out of 17 perineal myiasis (35.3%) had previous caudectomy operation. One out of 4 cases of tail chasing was also determined to be related to caudectomy and final histopathologic diagnosis of tail stump neuroma was made in this case.
Most of the caudectomy complications are believed to be related to incorrect surgical techniques. However, in our opinion early complications may also be related to the site of the procedure as it is a place where continuous bruising and environmental contamination can occur. Lack of the natural tail functions may result in creation of myiasis throughout animal life, since tail acts as a fly repellent tool. According to the results of this study, it seems to be a high prevalence of both early and late post caudectomy complications and we suggest that performing caudectomy should be considered as a therapeutic measure rather than cosmetic tradition.