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Ask Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP Your Own...

Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP
Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP, Small Animal Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1752
Experience:  DABVP, Specialist in Canine and Feline Medicine, Veterinarian since 2000
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Why does my dogs butt smell like metal

Resolved Question:

Why does my dogs butt smell like metal?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP replied 3 years ago.
This is Dr. Devlin.

Can you provide me with additional information? Did you just notice this odor - is it recent, or has he had this odor for some time?

Is there any discharge or leaking from the rectum that you have noticed?

Is he scooting or licking at his rear?

Finally, any redness, or signs of irritation to the rear?

I'll be standing by to help,
Dr. Devlin

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The odor has been present for about 2 weeks now. I haven't noticed any discharge leaking from his rectum. He has definitely been scooting and licking randomly at his rear.

He developed some sores around his genitals about a month ago and we took him to the vet and had them examined. The vet advised us to soak them with burasol and we did so and they went away.

Now they have come back and he is constantly liking there as well as constantly licking his two front paws.

At the same time as the original sores appeared (maybe a different issue) we switched him from puppy to adult food and after a week or so he slowly stopped eating it. It got so bad that he was hardly eating and throwing up bile. we went to the vet and the vet advised us to feed him boiled rice with boiled ground beef. That stopped the vommitting. But unfortunately he will not eat his real dog food anymore. We tried new brands, wet dog food, dry dog food everything. He will not eat anything except the rice and meet.

This is all been happening over the last month or so and now we have started to begin to smell this metal smell that seems to be originating from his rear end, but it could be comming from somewhere else as well.
Expert:  Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP replied 3 years ago.
Oh, poor guy. He has really had a tough time lately.

I'm concerned with the odor as well.

The desciption of a metallic smell makes me think that he could have an anal gland impaction or infection. The anal glands are located just inside the anus. It is a common source of odor to this area. If there is an infection, or the glands are full and small amounts are leaking, it can cause the odor, plus the licking and scooting.

In addition, anal itchiness can be caused by intestinal parasites and food allergies.

I would recommend a repeat veterinary visit to have the anal glands checked and emptied, even if they were emptied a couple of weeks ago - they can fill quickly. The glands may need to be infused with an antibiotic/steroid combo if they are infected or inflamed.

In addition, you could take a fresh stool sample with you for a fecal floatation check. Many eggs and some parasites are microscopic, and need microscopic evaluation to detect.

Finally, if the glands are normal and the fecal check is negative, he may need medication to decrease the anal itchiness and treat any secondary infections. Please make sure your vet does a thorough rectal exam to look for strictures, hernias, and fistula formations, as well as polyps (even in a young dog).

A hypoallergenic food trial will be needed if symptoms persist.

More information:
anal glands:

food allergies:

Fistulas (more common in males - could be developing but not all the way through to the outside yet):

I hope this information helps, and that he has relief soon. Please let me know how else I can help.
Dr. Devlin
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
One other thing that I forgot to mention is that when we originally started giving him the rice and meat (about 3 weeks ago) he was having a hard time pooping. He would go out and try the odd time and just a little bit would come out but mostly he just wouldn't even try. He eventually got over that and is going tot he washroom perfectly fine.

Secondly, a few days ago his anus was all red and looked like it was almost inverted. Is looked swollen and puffy. We were about to take him to the vet the next morning (we noticed at night) but in the morning it was back to normal. It didn't seem to bother him at all and the scooting on the ground was only every few days.

Also, in terms of a hypoallergenic food trial, any brands or makes you can recommend? Also any tips on how we can get him to eat his dog food, because right now he refuses to eat anything but rice/meat. And no matter how much we try, he will continue to not eat (or eat about 5% of his bowl) until it causes him to vomit bile.

Expert:  Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP replied 3 years ago.
It sounds like there might be something else going on with him.

As to the straining, it's difficult to say. Any cause of colitis or inflammation of the colon can cause straining. However, even more reason to have a thorough rectal exam performed and / or repeated.

With the odor, I would definitely have those anal glands evaluated. If they are impacted, or infected, they could abscess and rupture, and that can need surgery to clean and drain (not to mention it's painful).

For a hypoallergenic food trial, it will be important to use a veterinary brand only for a full 12 weeks. The veterinary brand will have much better quality control then an over-the-counter brand. It has to be fed exclusively for 12 weeks. I'll attach info on the food trial below. After 12 weeks, you can challenge slowly with different brands. I like Z/D and Hills D/D diets, which come with different protein sources.

Your vet may want to check for pancreatitis or another reason the appetite is so poor. Hopefully he's feeling better, but x-rays and blood work would be needed if he's continuing not to eat. You may be able to try an appetite stimulant called Mirtazapine to help transition him off of the home-cooked food if you think he is healthy and only has a food preference.

Here's the food trial info:

Try mixing the dry food in slowly to transition, or try adding chicken broth or something else to add flavor to the food that would be bland on the stomach. Again, the mirtazapine can really help in this situation. Also, if he has stomach upset, ulcer, pancreatitis, or another source of recent pain that he associates with the dry food (for whatever reason) then you may need to start with a canned version or a different kind of food and gradually introduce. He could have a negative association with that food or size/shape of the kibble.
Dr. D.
Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP, Small Animal Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1752
Experience: DABVP, Specialist in Canine and Feline Medicine, Veterinarian since 2000
Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks so much for your help!

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