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purr doctor
purr doctor, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 1053
Experience:  11yrs in feline-only medicine/surgery.
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My cat had impacted anal glands. They were expressed 3 weeks

Customer Question

My cat had impacted anal glands. They were expressed 3 weeks ago, and he has had diarrhea ever since. They had to put him under to fully express the glands and gave him a shot of antibiotics as well as his rabies shot that same day. He was on Metronidazole and Forta Flora for 6 days and was getting worse. Last Saturday they put him on Prednisolone, and he is having diarrhea less frequently but still has it once a day. We have been to the vet 6 times, and I am extremely frustrated. I really think that something happened when they expressed his anal glands. Do you think that there is a link? The vet seemed to think that he may have developed irratable bowel syndrom, but I think that something went wrong during the anal gland expression procedure. Please help me!
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  purr doctor replied 7 years ago.


I would love to help you with this-


I just want to make sure I understand everything fully:


What were his original symtpoms?

Was the metronidazole and FortiFlora prescribed after the procedure?

Was he on any drugs before the procedure?

What food does he usually eat?

How old is he?

Does his diarrhea have any blood or mucus?

Is is just soft or watery?

How is his appetite?

Can you give me the doses of his metronidazole and which antibiotic injection was given (you may need to check the invoice).


If he didn't have diarrhea prior, I agree, the cause is something that has happened since. I will be standing by.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

1.) We just went to the vet for a rabies shot and they discovered the impacted anal glands.


2.) The metronidazole and FortiFlora were prescribed after the procedure


3.) He was not on any drugs before hand


4.) He eats the purina urinary tract infection dry food. He eats 3/4 a cup a day, but is always so hungry. He sometimes will eat our dog's food. He is a bit overweight at 15lb's, but he never has "people food."


5.) He is 7 years old


6.) The diarrhea does not have any blood, but does have mucus. Is this inflammation in the lower colon?


7.) It was very watery at first and he was going outside his litter box b/c it was explosive. It is now more soft and, as of Tuesday night, he has started going in his litter box again. I did notice a bit of mucus on the floor tonight outside of his litter box.


8) His appetite is good and he is drinking a lot.


9) I was unable to find the name of the antibiotic injection, but he was on 100mgs of metronidole once a day, and is now on 5mgs of the prednisolone once a day.


10) Could there be any sort of obstruction in his colon?

Expert:  purr doctor replied 7 years ago.


Thanks so much for the additional information and clarification:


First of all, I hate to say this, but the anesthesia and anal gland expression, but especially the use of an antibiotic injection was a bit over the top for a cat that was showing absolutely no symptoms of anal glad impaction (scooting, licking, etc).


Even if he did actually have impacted anal glands, this usually won't cause diarrhea. In fact, it is the exact opposite. It is the pressure of normal bowel movements that help release anal glands. So if a pet has diarrhea to where there isn't much pressure when voiding, then the glands may become impacted. Now, dry food and obesity can predispose to impaction, but I have some suggestions for that too.


The combination of stress, anesthesia, vaccine, antibiotic injection (especially without infection because impaction does not always mean infection), then more antibiotic, could cause diarrhea in any pet.


To determine if antibiotics were warranted, I would ask your vet if the glands were full of normal contents, or if they were obviously infected (indicated by watery or yellow/greenish discharge or blood).


Assuming the diarrhea was caused by all of the above, I would continue the Fortiflora as this is a good way to repopulate the intestinal tract. If the glands were infected, metronidazole is a very limited spectrum antibiotic and I have had better luck treating actual infections with something more broad spectrum such as marbofloxacin or enrofloxacin.


The mucus in his stool does indicate inflammation of the colon, likely the cause of the diarrhea. This is one thing that metronidazole does help, although I don't like using antibiotics unless really needed.


I would absolutely talk to your vet about taking him off the steroid. They are potent antiinflammatories, but are also probably suppressing his normal immune system response and may actual inhibit this from resolving. You may need to wean him off this drug by reducing the dose to every other day so ask your vet first.


The unfortunate thing about dry food is that many medical conditions are thought to be linked to not only the lack of moisture in dry food, but all the grains (corn, wheat, soy, rice) which are used as fillers to increase the profit margins of the food companies. Cats are very strict carnivores, and plant protein is a very low quality protein source and can also be very irritating. Please visit to learn more about this. Most feline and internal medicine specialists are now recommending feeding canned food and grain free brands such as:Innova Evo, Wellness Core, Pinnacle, Before Grain, and Weruva. These are available at private pet stores.


Not only does animal based protein make more sense for cats, it can help with prolonged diarrhea and really help with weight loss (think Atkins diet). The sheer moisture in canned food really helps them feel full. The reason cats act so hungry on dry food that is also high in grains is because grains= carbs. If you eat a lot of carbs, your blood sugar skyrockets, your insulin levels rise, and an hour later you are hungry again.


I hope this gives you some things to consider. Please let me know if I can do anything else. If you accept this answer, you will only need to pay once, but I can continue helping you.

purr doctor and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thanks for the analysis! What should our next steps be? If I take him to the vet again tomorrow what should I ask him? Does he need to be x rayed or have any blood samples taken? His stool was negative for parasites 2x. I also forgot to mention that he was scooting his little bottom across the floor before I took him in for his rabies shot, and that is when they discovered the impacted anal glands. We just moved and this is a new vet office. We are finally seeing the head vet, and he has a good reputation, but I am frustrated that I have had to take little Nike in 6 times!

Expert:  purr doctor replied 7 years ago.

Hi there-

I agree, 6 times to resolve a problem is a lot of visits, especially for Nike. There is nothing wrong with considering a second opinion. There are vets who specialize in cats can try to find one at


I don't know that you actually need to take him back in, as much as just schedule a phone consult with someone and review the big picture with them. Ask them which antibiotic injection was used (and let me know), ask if the contents of the glands looked infected, and ask for advice on weaning him off the steroid. You may not have to depending on how long he has been on it.


Most vets stock and recommend Science Diet, but this is not a good food! Please share the above nutritional website with your vet, but if they recommend a diet change to anything except a grain free food, take it with a grain of salt.


I will be available most of the day tomorrow if you need me again. I will continue to help you and Nike!

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