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Discussion Starter #1
My boy has an issue with his anal glands, has since a baby puppy. They become very full and leak, we call it "skunk butt". Have to wash his rear with soap and water. Usually when this happens it is time to express them again. He hates having this done and even gave a little growl the last time as I was trying to get started. We perservered, he shut up, got the job done and once I got them started draining he settled right down.

The vet me tioned to me at one point that we could remove them surgically if it remained a problem. The problem is better than it used to be, there was a time when I had to express them 2x a month. Now it is more like 1 per month.

The vet said he though it was due to the conformation of his rear, I can't remember exactly what he said now but something about the angle of his anus or something like that.

If he didn't mind me doing it I wouldn't mind so much. He is due for it again now so we will see what his attitude is like this time. I know one of my early attempts was bad and I hurt him a little which is why he dislikes it so. I have gotten much better at it now after two lessons from the vet (whi charges like $45 per express which is why I decided I had to learn to do it myself).

One of my biggest concerns is would it impair his ability to be social with other dogs if we removed them? Because he wouldn't smell right? I wouldn't do a surgery just for this, but I had thought of having it done when he is neutered. They have to find his retai ed testicle anyway so as long as he has to be confined for recovery and have the cone and all...

Has anyone known a dog who had them removed? It seems like an unecessary hardship to have to fight with him about it and do something he hates so often if it is avoidable? Obviously we do and will continue to do everything we can to improve his manners. He will stand untied in the bathroom and let me wash his bum with soap and water with no trouble because he knows that I am not doing THAT unless daddy, gloves and lube are there :(
 

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I am not a fan of having them removed. It's not an easy surgery and can actually leave them fecal incontinent.
 

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When we were going through massive anal gland problems with my dog (frequent, painful expression at the vet, constant butt-licking by the dog, skunky odor...infections, antibiotics, bloody stool, and a surgery for a polyp), we talked about that surgery. My vet told me he regarded that surgery as a very last resort when all else failed -- it's a procedure they used to do more of but that had become very disfavored. Fecal incontinence is quite common after this surgery. The dogs will randomly drop a poop while lying on their bed or standing looking at you in the kitchen, because they have no control. In other words, you'll possibly go from organizing your life around expressing anal glands to organizing it around fecal incontinence. :(

For my dog, getting the internal inflammation under control made all the difference. His had a food allergy at the root of it, causing the GI inflammation all the way to his rectum, and that prevented the anal glands from emptying. Since we got the inflammation under control, we have had NO problems -- his anal glands empty naturally the way they should in a healthy dog now.

Have you tried Glandex? It helped my guy (we also used bovine colostrum and another probiotic), along with the diet switch. You might buy a small bottle (available on Amazon) to try to see if it helps at all.

I also like The Honest Kitchen's dehydrated diets for anal gland issues because they create HUGE firm poop -- and that kind of poop helps empty the anal glands naturally. It's expensive, but it made a major difference. Kibbles producing wee little poop piles are desirable for humans doing yard clean-up, but I've come to suspect that they're part of the problem for these dogs with anal gland problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
WOW thanks for the heads up, I had no idea incontinence was a possible result. I had a dog like that for the last 4 years of his life. I mean we managed but I wouldn't want that for a young dog with his whole life ahead of him.

I do not know what Glandex is. He is due to see our new vet to get established and this is one of my questions, how else to handle this.

His poops are pretty big but usually not super firm (have had some chronic soft issues that seem resolved how due to diet change).

I am willing to try whatever for food if it might help. He does not have food sensitivities that I am aware of, he does better on Purina (loaded with corn and other crap) than Fromm, and holding steady on a 50/50 mix right now.

Feeling like Fromm just doesn't work for him but had a huge bag that I don't want to toss so feeding it out mixed. (Am paying $100 bag for what I am feeding the other one right now and threw away a couple hundred dollars worth of food I bought her before finding one that worked, so....)

Most of all soft stools I think are related to too muc volume. At one point he was eating 6 cups a day. He isn't fat lol. But boy did the kid eat during growth spurts. Now he is down to like 4 cups and a can
 

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Glandex is a supplement -- nothing harmful or scary in it, so it's just one of those "can't hurt, might help" things to try, just in case it helps:
Anal Glands in Dogs - Glandex® for Dog Anal Gland Problems

My guess is the reason he's better on Purina is the grains and fillers -- normally we don't want those, but for anal gland dogs, the extra fiber ends up being helpful to bulk up the poop. Mine was on Fromm when his problems manifested too. No judgment from me about the Purina because I know how frustrating it is to find anything to make the problem better when this is going on! The Honest Kitchen is full of dehydrated vegetables for bulk (including pumpkin and sweet potato). Your local independent pet food store (NOT big box) may have sample packets of THK to give you to try. I've also seen some varieties of it sold at Whole Foods (and there are $5 printable coupons out there, I think at the Common Kindness coupon website).

Go with what works!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Magwart thank you so much for all the info. Compared to what you described my boy's problems aren't that bad.

I will definitely try the Glandex. Even if I were able to reduce the frequency of having to express them maybe that would be enough to help his attitude about it. I mean my heart goes out to him, people have been doing invasive and uncomfortable stuff to his butt his whole life, that sucks for him. But that combined with my hopefully improving technique, I honestly don't care as much about having to do it as having to have conflict with him and a potential attitude problem. He is a big boy & I am not thrilled with having some chronic issue requiring us to fight. Perhaps getting hubby to hold him and feeding him treats while I just go around his rear but not really do it would help counter condition him a little. I did start muzzle training him after that growl just in case so if he ever does take it any farther I can neutralize him in order to do what needs to be done.

He likes to eat just about anything, I wonder if just adding cooked carrots and a little pumpkin might help too. I was giving him pumpkin for awhile to try and firm things up and it didn't work but I could try it again about the gland problem.

He weighed 84 lb at the vet today (he only went in for cookies and meet and greet), and the vet complimented me on keeping him nice and lean. He is only 1 :/ Good thing I got a big strong husband to wrangle him for me lol
 

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My girl had some anal gland issues about a month ago. We switched her food to something less rich with limited ingredients and higher fiber and the awful smell has gone away!
 
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