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Sometimes my dog has that copper-y metallic smell in his…

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Hello! Sometimes my...

Hello! Sometimes my dog has that copper-y metallic smell in his breath, and from his bum. Most times it goes away if we have his anal glands expressed. We just had that done a week ago and the smell is back.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is the dog's name and age?

Winston is 7 years old today.

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Winston?

He is on medication for seizures, which sometimes I get a whiff of the same metal smell in his pill jar.

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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Answered in 54 minutes by:
12/21/2017
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 7 months ago
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 34,871
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 7 months ago

It's reasonable to assume that the coppery/metal odor of some anal gland exudate was transferred to Winston's mouth when licking his anus. A longer remission or cure can be achieved by following evacuation of the anal sac glands with packing them with an antimicrobial/antiinflammatory ointment such as those we use when packing ears. This is done with a curved tip syringe introduced into the anal sac gland ducts and which is first used to irrigate the sac glands with chlorhexidine solution followed by the ointment. Many dogs will allow this procedure without sedation and so it might be performed while you wait in the exam room. I can't rule out that his medication is contributory but the fact that the odor goes away after having his anal sac glands expressed makes his anal sac glands the prime suspect. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thank you. This was my thought, but if there are any other reasons we should be concerned about the metallic smell, please let me know.
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 7 months ago

The only other odors medically important are those of dirty gym socks/corn chips (seborrhea), acetone/nail polish (diabetic ketoacidosis), ammonia (urea-splitting bacteria in the urinary tract), and the uremic (urine-like) odor of advanced kidney insufficiency. You're quite welcome. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
We do have the corn chip smell on his feet... but I thought that was pretty common. Should we mention that at his next appointment?
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 7 months ago

Certainly. Most any chronic skin condition can result in seborrhea - a disease of skin maturation and keratinization (keratin is a structural protein in the skin).

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Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 6 months ago
Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Michael Salkin
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