Funny Labrador Retriever puppy dog chewing tail Dog Health 15.02.2024

Violet gland in dogs - what is it?

The Violet gland in dogs is not very well known, but it is exciting to see what it can do and why it exists.

The Violet gland (or supracaudal gland) is actually a specific scent gland in canines, including domestic dogs, and should not be confused with the anal pouch glands, which have a different function.

Where is the Violet gland located in dogs and what is it responsible for?

The  Violet gland is located on the upper side of the tail and is characterized by a collection of large sebaceous glands. This gland plays an important role in communication between animals, as it produces a characteristic odor known as "violet wittering". This odor can be reminiscent of violets, especially in foxes, which has contributed to the naming of the gland.

The development of the violet gland in domestic dogs varies greatly between breeds. In some, such as the bull terrier, it is often well developed, while in others it may be rudimentary or completely absent. The location of this gland is described as being on the top of the tail at the level of the 9th caudal vertebra.

Stud tail

The "stud tail" phenomenon, a loss of hair under the influence of androgens at the site of the viral gland, can occur in all breeds, although older males are particularly susceptible.

Interestingly, a similar organ, the organum caudae, is also present in cats, where it is located directly at the top of the tail root. This information illustrates the complexity and variety of means of communication in animals, particularly through the use of chemical signals.

Beautiful dogs at an outdoor dog show. Different dog breeds. Depositphotos / sorokopud

What problems can occur related to the  Violet gland in dogs?

Problems associated with the  Violet gland in dogs are not as commonly discussed as problems with other glands (e.g. the anal glands), but there are some conditions that can occur, particularly around the skin and coat, that could be associated with this gland:
  1. Inflammation and infection: As with other glands, the viral gland can become inflamed or infected. This can lead to redness, swelling and soreness on the top of the tail. Infections can be bacterial or fungal in nature and require appropriate treatment.
  2. Hair loss (alopecia): Hair loss can occur specifically in the area of the viral gland, often referred to as "stud tail". This condition is partly hormonal and can be more pronounced in male dogs. The affected area may be bald, oily and/or covered with dandruff.
  3. Blockage of the glands: Although less common than anal glands, the ducts of the viral gland may become blocked with excess sebum or dirt. This can cause discomfort and lead to inflammation.
  4. Excessive secretion: An imbalance in sebum production, whether due to hormonal fluctuations or other causes, can lead to excessive secretion. This can make the area around the tail oily or unpleasant smelling.
  5. Dermatitis: The skin around the  Violet gland can become inflamed due to infection, allergies or mechanical irritation, leading to dermatitis. Symptoms may include redness, itching and the formation of crusts or scales.

Treatment of such problems depends on the exact cause and can range from simple cleansing and care to medication with antibiotics, antifungals or anti-inflammatory drugs. For persistent or severe problems, a veterinarian should be consulted to obtain an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Adorable puppy cocker spaniel sleeps on the sofa Depositphotos / izanbar

What can help acutely when the Violet gland is inflamed

If you have noticed that the  Violet gland is inflamed, an ointment could help. An ointment with benzoyl peroxide can provide initial relief.

Hormones are often the cause of such inflammations. In this case, homeopathic remedies could be a good alternative. Preparations that have a stress-reducing effect are particularly recommended.

These include CBD and various combinations from Bach flower therapy. These can help to calm your dog's hormones, especially during the heat phase.

Banner: Depositphotos / Steph_Zieber
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