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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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My dogs anus is very irritated and red. He drags his behind

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My dog's anus is very irritated and red. He drags his behind on the floor and has gas which sounds like internal gurgling. I had taken him to the vet a few months ago for this same condition, he was tested for worms and it came back negative, but the vet told me his rectum and anus were irritated (she did not know why) and prescribed antibiotics and anti-inflammatory meds. His condition seemed to improve but returned shortly after stopping the medications. I have also heard him yelp when he's trying to have a bowel movement, which takes him a bit pass so it seems constipation is also a problem although sometimes the stool is firm and other times it is runny. I thought perhaps it could be a diet problem, so I gradually changed his diet from canned Pedigree food to homemade food of liver or salmon with brown rice, carrots, yams, apple or blueberries in the morning and Blue Buffalo Wilderness dry food in the evening, but nothing has changed. Any idea what could be causing this? I have 2 other dogs that do not have this problem.
Hello. Thanks for writing in. Do you know if your vet checked his anal glands? Are there any other sores besides redness around the anus? Has there ever been any blood in his stool, especially when it is runny?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for your quick response. Now that you mention the anal glands, I recall that the irritation started after taking him to the groomer who expressed his anal glands. I had mentioned this to the vet and she expressed his glands again and fluid came out. I have not seen blood in his stool, but a couple of times it did look mucus-y.
Thanks for the information. While his anal glands can definitely be an inciting cause, I would be more concerned about inflammation in his colon (colitis) first. You have to ask how the groomers expressed the glands. If it was from the outside only, they may not completely get them expressed. A vet will usually express the glands with a gloved finger rectally. This gets them expressed better. Either way can cause some irritation to the glands, especially if they were very full or impacted and difficult to express. The straining and mucus in the stool is very typical of a colitis. A lot of the time, we will see frank blood in the stool as well. You are correct to assume it is probably a dietary problem. That is usually the cause, but intestinal parasites (whipworms can be hard to find in a fecal exam), stress, masses in the colon and liver/pancreatic problems can cause some similar signs. With a dietary situation, usually the best diet is a high fiber one. It can be a prescription high fiber dog food. These typically work very well. Some dogs improve with just a teaspoon of Metamucil (add small amount of water) or pureed canned pumpkin (not pie filling) to add fiber. I usually deworm with Panacur for whipworms just in case and put them on a course of metronidazole for intestinal inflammation and bacterial overgrowth. A lot of dogs do -well with a course of probiotics as well to re-establish normal GI bacteria. Make sure your vet did a full rectal exam. If not getting any better, full bloodwork may be necessary. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The groomer expressed the glands externally, the vet went internally and mentioned that there was inflammation, but don't know if she expressed internally or externally as his back side was turned away from me. Can you clarify what "frank" blood is? Thanks again.

You are very welcome. Yes, frank blood just means is it red and watery, like you would find from fresh bleeding. It is just a term used to distinguish blood from fresh bleeding from blood that may be clotted or digested (usually looks black, tarry or like coffee grounds). Most likely, your vet expressed internally while she already had her finger in the rectum. Hopefully the inflammation there is the inciting cause of some inflammation in the colon. Hope this helps.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
You have been very informative. I will take the info you provided with us to the vet. Thanks again and have a good evening.
You are very welcome. You have a good evening as well.