“Deadly back tube” in Rhodesian Ridgeback (Dermoid Sinus) | Daily News


“Deadly back tube” in Rhodesian Ridgeback (Dermoid Sinus)

Dr GCS Kurugala, Veterinary Surgeon, (B.V.Sc; M.Sc Poultry Science; Master of Public Administration & Management)

This article is especially for Rhodesian Ridgeback dog owners.You must examine your dog and provide immediate treatment to save your dog!

What is dermoid sinus?

It is a small hole in the skin at the beginning or end of the ridge of the dog located on the back. These dogs get mostly only one tunnel which can run deep into underlying tissues as far as the spinal cord , exposing the affected animals to risk of infections causing serious disease and pain.

Dermoid sinuses are congenital abnormalities (present from birth) and are a threat to your dogs’ health because the affected dogs are prone to more infections. This condition occurs along the dorsal midline, which connects with the spinal cord and puts this delicate nervous tissue at risk of infections .

Which breed is affected?

Only Rhodesian Ridgeback breed dogs are affected.


The ridge of Rhodesian Ridgebacks is caused by a mutation of genes at the foetal stage. This mutation can cause dermoid sinuses. But some dogs are carriers without having the sinus.

How do you know if an animal is a carrier or likely to become affected?

Most affected puppies can be detected at birth. However, it is currently impossible to know if a healthy, ridged dog will produce affected puppies or not.


Preliminary diagnosis is made by visual examination and palpation (touch) and the category of sinus is confirmed using x-rays.

Methods for elimination of the problem 

This condition could possibly be eliminated by only breeding from ridge-less individuals. But unfortunately today breed standards are mostly based on appearance of a ridge and the size of the ridge.

As soon as you find out your dog is affected, it is better to discuss with your vet and remove the whole sinus surgically.

Most of the Veterinary clinics in Sri Lanka can perform this surgery. The earlier the better! So seek treatment immediately. 

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