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Anal gland issues with older dogs?

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  • Anal gland issues with older dogs?

    Hi all, my boy is turning 8 in November. On and off over the course of his life, I've sometimes had to express his glands. Once I found a food that seemed to do really well for him, I only had to express his glands once every three or four months. He's been on that same food for years now. However, over the course of the last six months, his anal glands are now getting full ALL the time. I have to express them every three or four days or I will smell the odor on him in the house and on his bed. I've taken him to the vet; we have tried anti-biotics (in case there is an infection), and also Metamucil (to increase stool bulk in hopes of natural expression during elimination) but neither has helped.

    I'm curious as to whether this is something that is common as danes get older?

  • #2
    Have you tried pure canned pumpkin?
    "The human language, as precise as it is with its thousands of words, can still be so wonderfully vague"....Garth Stein The Art of Racing in the Rain

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    • #3
      where is the best place to purchase pure canned pumpkin? Do most grocery stores have it?

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      • #4
        I haven't, but only because I have heard it basically works the same way as metamucil to add bulk to the stool (which I have already tried). My dog doesn't like it either... he might eat it if I mixed it into his food but he refuses to touch it otherwise.

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        • #5
          I don't have any answers as to why they might be getting full faster, except to say that I had a lab/rott mix who always had trouble with her anal glands too. As she got older (she lived to be 12), they did get full faster (also, her farts got stinkier as she aged!).

          It's good that you know how to express them yourself - saves a trip to the vet or groomer each time!

          I agree with you that the pumpkin is probably like the metamucil.

          The only thing I can think of is that there is a surgery to remove anal glands. It's a bit risky because the nerve that innervates the anal sphincter runs right next to the glands, so sometimes you end up with a fecally incontinent dog afterwards (yuck, that's even worse!). If the vet has done tons of these surgeries, that's less likely to happen.

          But on someone his age, I don't think I'd want to do an elective surgery anyway.

          Just thinking out loud here - I wonder if using steroids short term to decrease swelling in chronically full anal glands would help? Maybe in combination with a different antibiotic?

          I'm not recommending any of these things - I just thought I'd throw some ideas out there for you to discuss with your vet.

          I feel for you!
          sigpicBubbles the lap puppy

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          • #6
            Thanks for the reply. I did discuss the gland removal option with the vet but at 8 years old, I just can't put him through another surgery. He had one a year ago for a teeth cleaning and a skin biopsy to try to figure out a hair loss issue and his recover from the anesthesia was just awful.

            Good tip on the steriod.... maybe I could put him on prednisone for a few weeks and taper down off it... maybe that would get it under control. I'll talk with the vet about it.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by strickler View Post
              where is the best place to purchase pure canned pumpkin? Do most grocery stores have it?
              Yes, especially this time of the year because of Halloween and Thanksgiving.
              "The human language, as precise as it is with its thousands of words, can still be so wonderfully vague"....Garth Stein The Art of Racing in the Rain

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