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Dr. Emily
Dr. Emily, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 945
Experience:  Associate veterinarian at a small animal clinic
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My dog doesn't raise s tail anymore, he acts like it is

Customer Question

My dog doesn't raise his tail anymore, he acts like it is painful to sit on it and he won't stop licking it. He is eating. Not as excited about as he usually is though. And he also is still going to the bathroom, slightly loose stool. He is also drinking a lot more water than usual. He is a German Shepherd/Black Lab mix and is probably close to 70 pounds. He isn't as active as usual. He does (when he is feeling well) have bursts of energy and run like a fool all around the yard (or house) and has pulled a muscle or something like that. I would take him on walks to help control these bursts but he freezes solid when I he sees a leash. (We found him starving and civered in tics on the side of the road) I know this is long winded and I have kind of wandered away from the real issue(the tail) but I wanted to give you a good background since you are unable to see him. He is about 7 years old.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Emily replied 1 year ago.

Hello! My name is***** and I would like to help with your questions today. Based on what you describe, my primary concern is with the anal glands.

These are two little glands inside the dog's rectum. They naturally fill with a material that ranges from thin, light colored liquid to a thick paste. When a dog defecated, this material is released -- most of the time not all of the liquid is release but over the course of each defecation, enough is released that the glands do not overfill. With some dogs though, this process does not occur as easily. This can be due to the material being too thick to be expressed, the stool being too soft or diarrhea which does not apply enough force to the gland to express the fluids or due to an underlying disease process. The most common cause of recurrently full anal glands is an underlying allergy problem. Dogs with skin sensitivity or allergies often have anal glands that need to be emptied on a routine basis. If the glands become too full, the material can become infected or the gland can rupture. In this case, the area will heal but antibiotics are typically needed. After the anal glands are expressed, the area can continue to feel irritating for a few days. In some cases though, the glands may not have been completely emptied. This is often the case if the glands are emptied at a groomers as they empty them from the outside and are not trained to empty them rectally as a vet would. Most dogs do not need their glands emptied for any medical purpose but if the glands were randomly checked, they could be moderately full. This does not indicate a need to express the material though. The reason I bring this up is because I have found that if we begin emptying the glands for the dog, it creates a cyclic effect where we continue to have to empty them. If the dog is scooting, this is an indication to have them checked though as you did. After reviewing this, please let me know what further questions I can assist with today.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
you think this would cause him to not wag or raise his tail? It has been 4 days that he has been doing this. Will it resolve on his own? Is there anything I can give him?
Expert:  Dr. Emily replied 1 year ago.

Yes, it can cause difficulty with his tail due to the sensitivity in the area. It would be best to have his glands checked to be sure there are not full and expressed if needed. If they are not full, the vet can then evaluate the tail specifically for any injury. the tail can be broken or sprained just like a limb and your dog would then be limited with its movement of it. Typically an anti-inflammatory is prescribed and healing takes about a week if that is what is going on.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Would I notice any spots on his bedding if it was an issue with his anal glands?
Earlier you mentioned allergies. He is always fleas... How/can this effect his glands too? And what can I do in the future?
Expert:  Dr. Emily replied 1 year ago.

You typically will not notice spots unless the gland has already ruptured. You would also be able to see this if you look at his rear end though. You may or may not notice a distinct odor. As far as allergies, yes, dogs with allergies do tend to have anal gland troubles since the glands are a connection to the skin. In the future, I would have the glands checked every 6 months, sooner if you notice any scooting or licking back there.

Expert:  Dr. Emily replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about Beau. How is everything going?
Dr. Emily