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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16919
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I have a 18month old husky spaniel cross.I have had to take

Customer Question

I have a 18month old husky spaniel cross.I have had to take him to our vet several times to have his anal glands drained . We have tried changing diet, adding more ruffage and mixing type but we still have the problem.
1 Can you give any more advice than our vet has.
2 Is this something we could do ourselves?
***** *****
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 11 months ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 11 months ago.

I am sorry to hear about your pup, Thorn's, anal gland problems.

He may have deep, difficult to access glands that don't empty as they should when he passes stools.
This is a common problem for dogs and seems to be more common in overweight dogs that are fed lots of table scraps or eat a diet low in fiber. These glands are normally expressed when passing stool but if he eats a diet low in fiber his stools may be too small or infrequent to empty them. Or if his glands are anatomically in a deeper than usual position they simply may not empty as they should no matter how much fiber he receives.

I recommend weight loss if he is overweight.

I also recommend decreasing or stopping entirely table scraps.

There is a product called "Glandex" that purports to help. I don't have any personal experience with it but here is a link if you'd like to read more about it.

You may have tried to add fiber but it may not have been enough. A diet higher in fiber, such as a weight loss diet or mature diet, may help. Sometimes a prescription food very high in fiber like Hills r/d or Purina Veterinary Diets OM is needed.

Some dogs with food allergies have perineal inflammation and irritation and that seems to stimulate anal gland secretions. Sometimes a true prescription hypoallergenic diet such Hills z/d or Royal Canin limited ingredient diets is the answer.

Another possibility for perianal inflammation and increased secretions is a condition called a perianal fistula. These pups have full anal gland that are uncomfortable and cause scooting and licking but they also have painful cracks and inflammation around the anus. This disease process is more common in German Shepherds but any large breed, thick tailed dogs can be affected.

If his glands are continually full but not infected you may also want to ask your groomer if they will empty them for you weekly to every other week. You can try to learn to do this yourself, but most dogs aren't overly cooperative and it is usually a two person endeavor. It is done by gently pressing and pushing/milking out the secretions with your gloved fingers at about the 7-8 & 4-5 o'clock position around the anus. Here is a link if you want to see how it is done:

And of course if all else fails removal is an option, but given the possible complications (infection, strictures or incontinence) I recommend this only as a last resort measure, so hopefully some of these suggestions will help.

Best of luck with Thorn, let me know if you have any further questions.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 11 months ago.
Hi Roger,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Thorn. How is everything going?
Dr. Kara
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 11 months ago.

Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your pup. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****