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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16288
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My 13 yo Cavalier King Charles Spaniel had been suffering or

Customer Question

My 13 yo Cavalier King Charles Spaniel had been suffering or maybe still does from not being able to release his anal glands. After 2 months of weekly expression, I learned how to do it with my vet. I perform it every week, but now that doesn't seem to help. He sits and barks (he's a barker...!) but only because he's uncomfortable. He tries to reach his backside with no success and then looks at me and barks. My vet said to give him Benadryl which I do every 12 hours and that works to an extent. It takes about an hr. for him to finally calm down, but then right from a sleeping position, he'll jump (well quickly sit up) and start barking or trying to reach his bum. I also bathe his butt from tail to the butt area with a vet oatmeal shampoo and sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. I am at my wits end and don't know what else to do. I don't have the money to take him to the vet every time it happens, but my heart breaks because I can't figure out how to help him.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Now chronic anal gland issues can be related to other ongoing issues. If Poochie has narrowed ducts from inflammation or infection, then this will cause those glands to keep refilling and irritating him. Therefore, you may wish to ring his vet (since they sound to have seen him quite extensively for this) about a trial on dog safe anti-inflammatories and/or antibiotics.
Otherwise, since he was responding to Benadryl to a degree, this also raises concerns that his gland and general peri-rectal irritation may be related to allergies. In that case, I would note that you can use this every 8 hours and doing so may avoid or reduce that time until the medication takes effect. As well, I would note that this medication can be used at a dose up to 4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (as long as it doesn't make him drowsy), so you may have wiggle room on the dose you use.
Finally, since anal glands are meant to be expressed when a dog passes stool, we do find that increasing dietary fiber intake can increase stool firmness and thus help dogs to express these glands themselves. To increase his dietary fiber, you can feed veggies ( of course avoid grapes, raisins, onions and garlic), mix a fiber supplement (ie a spoon of tinned pumpkin, all bran, a 1 teaspoon of Metamucil) into his food, or even use a dog specific fiber supplement (ie Protexin Profiber). Again, these can just help him to do what he is supposed to when it comes to gland expression.
Overall, this can be a very frustrating condition, be we do want to make sure we are address all of the above. Finally, I would note that if you use these and he still struggles, you may want to discuss the possibility of future surgery to remove the glands (since they are not absolutely necessary) and stop this vicious cycle.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best, *****
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