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Our rescue girl, Luna, is easily startled. We've had her for almost a year, and we've made a lot of progress, but she is still very timid.

Sometimes if she gets startled, she expresses her anal glands on our couch or elsewhere in our house.

There are also times she starts to really smell after licking her behind.

But - she does not get impacted or infected anal glands. We have not taken her for expression because that is just a temporary fix, and because she is not having medical issues from this.

What I am wondering is whether having her anal glands removed is a reasonable solution?

She eats a healthy diet, although it's not anything special or top-of-the-line. Our dogs eat Kirklands dry dog food from Costco. We've been happy with this food for a while, and her issues seem to have just started within the last few months. She doesn't get a whole lot of treats, but her favorites are the milkbone type of bones, also Kirklands brand.

She also eats sticks every chance she gets, so I wouldn't think that fiber is a problem, haha. (We do try to keep sticks away from her, but she is quick to find them in the back yard and chow down.)

Thanks in advance.
 

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This is a conversation best had with your vet. Even if people on here tell you it's a great idea, your vet may not be so willing to perform an "optional" surgery like this.

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This is a conversation best had with your vet. Even if people on here tell you it's a great idea, your vet may not be so willing to perform an "optional" surgery like this.

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Oh, of course. I should have included that in my post, but I thought it would be assumed. Just looking for other opinions or whether anyone else has had this happen. Isn't that the reason for asking any health-related question on here?

Medically I can see how it's optional, but for all of our daily comfort, it doesn't seem too out there to me.
 

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Oh, of course. I should have included that in my post, but I thought it would be assumed. Just looking for other opinions or whether anyone else has had this happen. Isn't that the reason for asking any health-related question on here?

Medically I can see how it's optional, but for all of our daily comfort, it doesn't seem too out there to me.
It could be considered along the same lines as declawing - cats claws vs the furniture.

Im neither agreeing nor disagreeing with doing it. But I think a vet would want to look at other options first. Behavior modification, hormone therapy, stress relieving supplements, etc.

I simply didn't want people to respond yes and you get your hopes up, simply to have your vet tell you it was not an option

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It could be considered along the same lines as declawing - cats claws vs the furniture.

Im neither agreeing nor disagreeing with doing it. But I think a vet would want to look at other options first. Behavior modification, hormone therapy, stress relieving supplements, etc.

I simply didn't want people to respond yes and you get your hopes up, simply to have your vet tell you it was not an option

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Ah, ok. I do appreciate the caution. I wouldn't exactly get my hopes up, but it would be helpful to be prepared with what exactly to bring up to the vet as my preferred solution, once I decide what that is. :)

My understanding is that her expressing her glands due to being startled is involuntary, so other than helping her to be more calm in general, I am not sure that this particular behavior could be modified, but if there is a way, I am intrigued!
 

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I would lean far away from removing them. It is not a easy solution and the surgery can cause fecal incontinance. Without a very strong medical reason I doubt a vet will do it.

I have been a tech for 15 years, and seen it done once. And it was due to a tumor.


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Since this is something that has just started within the last 30 days it may just be that her anal glands are full and need to be expressed. If she is licking and when startled they "leak" they may just be full and need expressed. Go to the vet or groomer have them express them and then see what happens once they have been emptied. My Samoyed's anal gland ruptured and it was ugly smelled, blood everywhere, and at the end of the day they still did not remove.
 

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I would lean far away from removing them. It is not a easy solution and the surgery can cause fecal incontinance. Without a very strong medical reason I doubt a vet will do it.

I have been a tech for 15 years, and seen it done once. And it was due to a tumor.


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That is good to know, thanks. I was concerned about the possibility of fecal incontinance if we were to have it done.
 

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Since this is something that has just started within the last 30 days it may just be that her anal glands are full and need to be expressed. If she is licking and when startled they "leak" they may just be full and need expressed. Go to the vet or groomer have them express them and then see what happens once they have been emptied. My Samoyed's anal gland ruptured and it was ugly smelled, blood everywhere, and at the end of the day they still did not remove.
It has been more than 30 days. I'm trying to remember how long it's been - maybe about 6 months, off and on.

My dad's dog has this problem (although she does not express in the house, just leaks) and they did regular expression for quite a while, but it didn't fix the problem for them, so they just deal with her being stinky now. If it's just a matter of dealing with her being smelly, I'd rather not pay for regular expression if she doesn't really need it, especially since going to the vet and groomer are very scary for her, and we try to make them as positive of experiences as possible. (Our other dog LOVES going to the vet and the groomer, but she doesn't pick up on that from him.)

My mom and stepdad had the anal glands removed from their dog due to recurrent infections, and she has done great, so since that was the only experience I have had with that procedure, it seemed like a possible solution, but it's sounding like that's not the case.

I appreciate the info!
 

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It has been more than 30 days. I'm trying to remember how long it's been - maybe about 6 months, off and on.

If it's just a matter of dealing with her being smelly, I'd rather not pay for regular expression if she doesn't really need it, especially since going to the vet and groomer are very scary for her, and we try to make them as positive of experiences as possible.
You can express anal glands yourself. Your other dog likes to go to the groomer you say so when you take it to the groomer ask the groomer to teach you how they should be happy to show you. It stinks but it can be done at home where it doesnt cost you + you dont have to stress her out. I would still try it once to see if it resolves the issue before opting for anything surgical. They are there for a reason and although they can live without them a non-surgical solution is always best. Good luck! :)
 

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Groomers only externally express anal glands which can do more harm than good. I would NEVER allow a groomer to express my dog's anal glands. If they were full or impacted I would have a vet or technician fully and properly do it. And if hers arent full or impacted, I would personally be cautious about over doing it as you can cause issues.

As far as behavior modification I meant training her to work on minimizing stressful situations that may cause this.

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Sunflowers, That link was awesome, thanks for sharing it :)
 

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Thank you for all the replies! I really appreciate it!

I am really hesitant to try expressing them myself. I am afraid of hurting her, and also as it was mentioned, expressing only externally didn't seem like a good solution to me. Really the only thing our dogs have done at the groomer is having their nails ground/trimmed. We have never needed to have our other dog's glands expressed.

I am going to read the link above right now. Thanks again.
 

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Anal glands are there for a reason.
Removing them is not like getting a haircut or something. It should be done as last resort surgery, for example if your dog has anal fistula.
The below link has lots of good information.
Holistic approach to anal gland problems in dogs
Thanks for this!

Hmm. It says at the end that smelling the anal glands "once in a while" is a sign that they're working well. I wonder what is considered once in a while.

I also wonder if her new favorite pastime of jumping up into our tree (about 6 feet off of the ground) could possibly be causing some strain to her back as mentioned in the article about very active dogs. She is a very persistent dog though, and she loves jumping up into the tree a few times a day. When she jumps back out, she doesn't have any trouble landing on her feet and acts fine, but it does make me worry about her joints, especially since our other dog was diagnosed with arthritis at only 2 years old (although, he grew very fast and has very long, skinny legs on his thin but 86-pound frame).
 
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