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Discussion Starter #1
We've been noticing that Heidi has been licking her butt and sniffing that area a lot lately. Is this a sign of anal gland problems? She also seems to strain a little when she poops. I did a search on "anal glands" in this board and came across the subject of "perianal fistulas" and it worried me a bit. I didn't realize that it could be a life-threatening problem.

What is the difference between perianal fistulas and anal glands that need to be expressed? Is expressing anal glands something a vet should do (I definitely can't see doing it myself)? Does it hurt a dog to get them expressed?

Our last dog never had any problems with her anal area, so this is new territory for us! Any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated!
 

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Those things can be a sign of anal gland issues. Scootching (sp) their butt on the ground or tail chasing can as well. Some dogs seem to be able to express themselves
on their own, others seem to fill up and need help.

I don't know the connection between PF and just regular anal gland issues-from what I had read in another thread a blown anal gland can maybe be a cause for PF? But I do not know and don't want to comment at all.

I know there are people who do express their dogs' glands. I am not ready to do that.

I think there is discomfort, then relief when it is done.

However, make sure you trust your vet. I took poor Kramer many years ago to a new vet who took him in the back (over my protest-idiot me, idiot vet) and Kramer fought him, and it ended up with Kramer getting an infection and it wasn't good. But the vets I go to now are very gentle when they do it.

They just glove up, stick their finger in and squeeze, and often the liquid will drip out on a paper towel. Sorry to be graphic-just to let you know what to expect!

Some groomers do it too.

Other than Kramer, I haven't had a problem with getting it done for the dogs.
 

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Quote:What is the difference between perianal fistulas and anal glands that need to be expressed?
A fistula is a draining tract, and perianal implys that it is in the area surrounding the anus. Unfortunately my dog gets them, and the vets have sited anything from diet to thyroid as the cause. Still waiting on the most recent blood tests to rule out immune issues.

Anal glands are two sacs at approximately 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock next to the dog's anus. Usually dogs express their glands as the deficate. When they are not regularly expressed (which is pretty common), pressure on the gland will cause the secretion to come out.

Quote: Is expressing anal glands something a vet should do (I definitely can't see doing it myself)?
Many people do it on their own because it can be expensive to have the vet do it. Usually, if a vet instructs an owner to express anal glands, they teach them the method that does not require sticking a finger inside the anus. The smell is TERRIBLE though. Personally I would never do it to my dogs at home.

Quote:Does it hurt a dog to get them expressed?
This depends on the severity of the gland. If a gland has been impacted or clogged for a while, it can be painful to express it. If the gland is normal and has normal fluid inside, then it is not painful to put pressure on the gland and release the fluid. Most dogs will do this themselves each time they deficate anyway.

BTW, my dog's perianal fistulas have never caused her to have problems deficating. She will lick at them though, and then it is into the "lamp-shade" for her
.

Hope this helps!
 

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Well, I just got back from the vet and apparently Heidi has an abcessed anal gland. The doctor said that she was going to shave the area, clean it, and cut away some of the abscessed material. She said she might have to sedate her because she was so nervous. Heidi is a VERY nervous, sensitive dog, and somewhat fearful dog. I could hear her crying, whining and yelping from the other room I was in.

The doctor came in with Heidi several minutes later and said that she was having a fit when they tried to cut away the abscess so they were only able to shave the area and clean it. She said it shouldn't be a problem because they gave her a large dose of antibiotics and we'll give her a ten-day course of antibiotics at home. I also have to put warm compresses on that area several times a day (that should be interesting, considering she will barely allow me to lift her tail to look at her "down there."

Now she's home again and seems really out of it (because of the sedative). It makes me nervous because her breathing is kind of irregular. Sometimes she'll be breathing really heavily and then it will slow down so I can't even hear her breathe. I hope they didn't give her too much of a dosage.

I know I'll be sitting here watching her for the next couple of hours, worried, until this sedative gets out of her system.
 

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check out a couple of other threads here on the health forum regarding perianal fistula's,

It's "good" she doesn't have them yet, but they can develop because of anal gland issues..(been there done this TWICE with two gsds of mine)..

Definately keep a close eye on her "butt",,hopefully the meds the vet gave you will get rid of the abscess..If not, and the gland becomes a real issue, I'd discuss removing it..(by a competent surgeon who has done this before!).

PF's CAN affect a dog's ability to go potty,,straining, diarhea, etc,,
and it probably can be painful if one has an abscessed anal gland.

also check out the PF website,,even tho she doesn't have them it gives alot of good info there
http://members.tripod.com/~perianal-fistulas/MainIndex.html

hope she feels better soon
diane
 

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Hi there. I am a new member and also not only a first time dog owner but a first time GSD owner. My puppy Link will be 5 months old on Thursday. I noticed that sometimes when he poops a little bit of liquid comes out at the same time. Is this coming from the anal gland??? Or is this just extra liquid from the stool??
 

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Thanks for all the info, everyone. Heidi is back to her normal self today although I can tell she's still upset with me for what she went through yesterday....

I'm kind of worried about the fact that the vet wasn't able to do everything she wanted to in order to clean up the area due to Heidi being so upset and uncooperative, especially after reading this in one of the links that Maggie provided:

"If the gland has abscessed and broken out to the skin surface the wound must be debrided and flushed with an antiseptic solution daily until the wound heals from the inside out. This is painful, costly and dangerous. Systemic antibiotics must also be used when the glands have abscessed."

The vet said I should put a warm compress on it for 10 minutes several times a day. We tried doing this yesterday and she absolutely wouldn't let us get the compress near the area. Anyone have any hints on how to do this? Also, does anyone have any recommendations on an antiseptic solution I could at least try to squirt on her that won't sting her?

She's still licking the area a bit, so I would think that might help to clean the area, but I'm not sure....

Thanks for any advice! It's tough having a super-sensitive, high-strung shepherd with a questionable past!
 

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Originally Posted By: Link's MomI noticed that sometimes when he poops a little bit of liquid comes out at the same time. Is this coming from the anal gland??? Or is this just extra liquid from the stool??
Most likely it is the fluid from the anal gland being naturally expressed.
 

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Karin,
The licking is really not very good. I can introduce more bacteria to the wound and keeps it from healing properly. If the gland doesn't heal, there is the possibility that it will have to be removed.

When we warm compressed my pup, we had her lay on her side and then I would pet her head and feed her treats while hubby held warm compress in place. It only needs to stay there for 3-5 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks WorkingK9s for the info on licking not being a good thing and for the advice on how to get her to hold still for the compress. I'm glad it only needs to stay there for 3-5 minutes, not 10! The treats are an excellent idea--why didn't I think of that? Thanks again.
 
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