Tail Dock Neuroma

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Also know as: Traumatic Neuroma


Neuromas are exuberant but non-neoplastic proliferations of neural tissue.

They are a manifestation of traumatic or surgical nerve transection followed by disorganised proliferation of the proximal nerve stump due to poor apposition or absence of the proximal nerve segment.

They are reported in many species, and in dogs this is most seen after tail docking procedures. Farm animals such as pigs, lambs and dairy cows can also be affected. Cocker spaniel dogs are thought to be genetically predisposed.

Clinical Signs

In dogs, tail dock neuromas present as painful, alopecic, hyperpigmented, lichenified lesions of the docked tip of the tail.

The underlying connective tissue is thickened and firm and there is adhesion between the connective tissue and skin.


Clinical signs are diagnostic.

Histopathology: the neuromas are characterised by small bundles of nerves arranged individually and in clusters. This proliferating neural tissue is distributed randomly throughout the connective tissue. Axons within the nerve bundles are thinly myelinated and the perineurium appears slightly thickened.


Surgical resection is the treatment of choice.

Prevention is through the banning of cosmetic tail docking in dogs. In farm animals, effort should be made to minimise the need for tail docking, for example in pigs by minimising tail-biting through the provision of environmental enrichment and the improvement of husbandry.

Tail Dock Neuroma Learning Resources
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Test your knowledge using flashcard type questions
Small Animal Dermatology Q&A 17


Gross, T. L. (2005) Skin diseases of dogs and cats: clinical and histopathologic diagnosis Wiley-Blackwell

Hill, P. (2002) Small animal dermatology: a practical guide to the diagnosis and management of skin diseases in dogs and cats Elsevier Health Sciences

Stevenson, P. (1999) The Tail Docking of Piglets Compassion in World Farming Trust


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