Abcessed Anal Gland

    • Gold Top Dog

    Abcessed Anal Gland

    Buddy (9.5 year old Lab) has an abcessed anal gland which will require surgery to remove, so says the vet this morning.  Yesterday morning, I noticed Buddy licking his anal area and found lots going on in the area.  First he had a small open wound (the hole was about 1/16" diameter) and also the area around the wound was swollen, red and irritated.

    I cleaned it with plain soap and water, dabbed a little hydrogen peroxide on it (to dry it out), and a little later started putting Neosporin on the open wound.  I also put one of those elizibathian collars on so he couldn't get to it to habitually lick.

    This morning the open wound looked better...pretty much closed up.  But the area around it was still swollen and irritated.  Plus there was a bump on the side of the anus that looked like an abcess.  I called the vet to get him in and they are booked solid today, but they told me that if anyone cancelled they would let me know.

    About 2 hours later, I took another look at the bobo area and that bump (abcess) had grown bigger.  Yikes!  Didn't like the sight of that.  So, I called the vet back and they just so happened to have a surgical cancellation, and asked me to come in.

    The vet looked at it and said....Yep Abcessed anal gland.  He expressed it and said that after the infection goes away (check it after 3 weeks of antibiotic), then he'll remove it.  And, should likely remove the other one as well.

    So, Buddy is on Simplicef 200MG for 3 weeks.  We'll take him back for a recheck to see if the infection is clear and schedule surgery.  Vet also gave me Tramadol 50MG to give as needed.  He said although he is not in great pain...its got to be quite uncomfortable.

    I'd like your opinions on the need for surgery please.  Vet said some people opt not to do the surgery, but their dogs have chronic anal gland issues forever.  I'll follow the advice of the vet of course...but want to hear your knowledge and experience with the condition

    In all the years of having dogs...this is my first experience with anal gland issues.

    • Gold Top Dog

    Expressing the anal glands is something I had my vet show me many years ago -- not the most pleasant task but I always figure my female fingers are less of a problem than larger male vet fingers so I do it.  *sigh*

    Years ago, Foxy had what they thot initially was an abscessed anal gland that turned out to be a perianal hernia.  The vet flushed the area, put him on antibiotics and the swelling didn't reduce so he took another look and deterrmined it was a perianal hernia.  (long story -- newly married to David at the time, Foxy was a 10 year old un-neutered male sheltie mix at the time because my ex would never let me neuter him). 

    The vet had to go in and repair (not a real 'fix' but simply a repair) the hernia and neutered him at the same time.

    My point is -- it can be deceptive.   However, currently with such a huge emphasis on everyone wanting these nice "small poops" we're shooting ourselves in the foot and the dogs in the butt because we've reduced the "bulk" in most kibble so seriously it doesn't express the anal glands when they defecate. 

    My personal feeling would be that I'd hate to take away scent production from my dog -- it's so how they identify themselves to the rest of the animal world, but if it was ABSOLUTELY necessary I would do it. 

    I simply do the expression as often as needed on my dogs -- which can range from quarterly to monthly to every couple of weeks -- whatever that dog needs.  You may also want to supplement the diet with more fiber and some bulk (since I've been cooking with veggies/meat for my dogs I haven't had a dog with anal gland issues at all that wasn't handled by quarterly expression).

    Dunno if that helped or not. 

    • Gold Top Dog

    All input helps...thanks!

    I hesitate to just jump right into surgery if it absolutely isn't know?  I mean, if simply expressing the glands is the only thing I'll need to deal with, then perhaps surgery isn't necessary to remove the glands.  Are the glands not necessary?

    My vet also said towards the end of our visit that its possible there is some kind of tumor in there, but today, right now...its too swolen and infected to really tell.  Next check up he'll be able to tell more, hopefully.

    More input welcome!

    • Gold Top Dog

    Our 8 year old Rottie, Bear, had this problem.   I didnt know what it was at the time, had one vet tell me it was a hernia, surgery could cost upwards of 800.00.   We just couldnt come up with that money.   While talking to a customer of mine, a large animal vet that had just expanded to small animal told me to bring him in imediately that day.   He felt like it was infected and needed to be taken care of now or we might loose him to infection.   By the way this is when we changed our Vet this Dr. was so compasionate and more concerned about Bear than how his surgery bill was going to be paid.  I wish I had all my Idog friends back then.......  I was just trying to keep it clean didnt know what to do.  He was just getting more and more lethargic.    Unfortunately, we lost our Bear.   Surgery went well, he woke up fine but passed overnight.  Our new vet was so upset he asked to do an autopsy and found an enlarged heart that we had never been aware of.  He had stayed with Bear til midnight and he was fine.  He felt like the infection from the gland and the stress of the surgery was just more than the heart could take.   We were in shock and we were devistated.   I have felt so guity about this since then.  I kept thinking had I only searched for answers sooner than I did we may not have lost him.   I didnt tell you this to upset you, but I just wanted to share my experience.    I really feel that if I had gotten this new Vet on board sooner we may have been able to save him.... due to the enlarged heart..maybe not.  Needless to say, I learned a  lesson that day for sure.   The good thing if there is one is that we found a vet that cares about our animals more than his pay check.


    • Gold Top Dog

    I am so sorry about your experience, that had to be devistating. 

    This is why I like this board, however.  Good or bad, we can share our stories with the possibility of helping others.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Gold Top Dog

     I was having anal gland problems with Woobie a long while ago.  We had to take him in to have them expressed numerous times and the vet tech said his are situated internally in such a way that expressing them externally is very difficult, they don't get fully cleared out unless you go internal.  She tried to show me how but I never got the knack.  The vet suggested using arabinogalactan powder, it is a miracle powder and I would sell a kidney for it!  She'd also had several patients who had abscessed and were looking at surgery as well and once on daily doses of this powder, they've not needed the surgery.  It's a prebiotic and immunity booster and it's used on human cancer patients to boost immunity, so I feel very safe about giving it to both dogs.  With daily doses of 1 - 2 tsp. daily, Woobie has not needed to have his rear end messed with AT ALL since December.  No scooting, no licking, biting, fussing with his behind.  It's truly been a miracle cure for us.  He also no longer gets ear infections or gunky ears, even after baths or having been in the lake.   I found the most economical through

    Arabinogalactan Powder

    I hope this helps.  If you're interested in reading some of the studies, I can post some links.  I've posted them here before, you might be able to find them by using the Search function. 


    • Gold Top Dog

    I would be most interested in reading some of the studies.  If you get a chance please repost...I don't have a lot of luck with the search tool sometimes.  Today I attempted a search on anal glands and the tool did not cooperate.  Sad

    • Gold Top Dog

    Sure, here's a few that are available to all.  If you PM me your email I can send you the ones I have in PDF format that are from databases I have access to through my university. 

    Larch Arabinogalactan

    Multifunctional Product

    I'm not sure if this is a problem with your dog, but I also had difficulty with Woobie having soft stools which didn't help with his problem.  Adding psyllium husks to his diet helped to produce firmer stools which may have also helped.  But, I do notice a difference when I've run out of arabinogalactan powder and am waiting on a re-order to arrive, he will start to bother at his rear end even though his stools are still firm and he's getting the psyllium husks, so I do credit the arabinogalactan powder primarily for his good results. 




    • Gold Top Dog

    My pug Hailie had anal gland problems, to where she had to have them expressed weekly.  Then..  they both got infected and removal was suggested.  The surgery went well and she is healthy and happier today.  No more dragging butt and licking constantly.  She will drag her butt at times out of habit I think but not like she was.  Our Vet told her that it is a tricky surgery and all is not sutured and mended properly they can go on after surgery having other problems with control.  Fortunately we were lucky.

    Best of luck.

     PS:  I never really gave any thought to her loosing her scent glands until Callie mentioned it on this thread but honestly I don't notice any difference in her or how she reacts to dogs or anything different. It's been about a year and a half since they were removed and she seems perfectly normal.

    • Gold Top Dog

    As luvmyswissy said, there can be problems with bowel incontinence. I would consider it, very carefully, and ask around at different vets. Maybe there's someone who specializes in that type of thing (hey.... it could happen) and does them every week. I'd rather have someone who does it regularly than someone who did it a couple of times before...  

    • Bronze

    My Pepper (6 year old mixed spayed female) had infected/abcessed anal glands twice, and because of the risk of bowel incontinence, we are trying hard to avoid surgery.  As I remember, our vet said that there were 3 reasons for infected anal glands:  overweight, soft stools (probably from lack of fiber in the diet), and bad luck.  In Pepper's case, it was bad luck - her anal secretions are thicker than usual and she is unable to express her glands normally.  We now take Pepper to the vet clinic once/month or so to have the techs express them, and since then she has not had any problems (knock on wood).   

     If surgery is inevitable, I would definitely look for a surgeon who is highly experienced and who performs this surgery regularly.    

    • Gold Top Dog

    One of the reasons I'm nervous about removing the glands are the possible incontinence issues.  The other thing the vet mentioned is nerve damage.  Good idea about getting a surgeon who is highly experienced, if we decide to do it as opposed to our regular vet.  I will ask him how many he does on average too.

    I am considering alternatives though...higher fiber, the supplements BCMixes recommends...just not sure yet what to do.  He'll be on the antibiotic for 3 weeks...that gives me time to research and decide.

    Thanks for the responses...keep'em coming please.

    • Gold Top Dog
    • Gold Top Dog

    Thanks so much BCMixs for all of the research you've sent me so far...much appreciated.

    So, here's my concerns so far:  If we do the surgery...possible nerve damage could occur as well as bowel incontinence.  If we don't do the surgery, we will have continued anal gland issues.

    What I am reading so far about the bowel incontinence is that is mostly a temporary thing...not lifelong.  Any experiences with that, anyone?

    If we decide against the surgery and we have to just keep an eye on those glands...ok.  maybe not such a bad thing.

    My next concern is how much fiber should he be taking in.  I'm currently transitioning the food from Innova Adult to Eagle Pack Holistic (Lamb) (Heidi was very itchy, and I thought it might be the Innova).  The fiber content int he EPH-L is 4% .  Also, I had started the dogs recently on Wholistic Pet Joint Therapy (I'm nto sure what the fiber content is...not at home now).

    So, what is a safe yet maximum fiber intake for the Budman if I decide not to do the surgery?

    I need to know more about psyllium (sp?) husks.  Where do you get them, first of all?  I know I could start feeding him veggies and I may start crockpotting...I've been considering that.

    OK, now to treating the bum over the next 3 weeks while he is getting his antibiotic treatment.  Vet says to use a warm wet cloth only to keep the area clean.  But, it seems like I should use something more.  Neosporin, Hydrogen Peroxide to dry it out.  Although the area looks pretty mushy, it does look better today than yesterday.  So, maybe warm wet cloth is enough.  What do you think?

    Thanks everyone for the input.

    • Gold Top Dog

    I have a couple questions first, for clarification.  Is this the first anal gland issue this dog has had or is it an ongoing problem?  Are this dog's stools soft?

    I don't know anything about the surgery, other than my vet saying that dogs who were having constant problems and the owners were considering surgery responded extremely well to the arabinogalactan powder.  That's how I found out about it originally.

    I would follow the vets advice on the compresses.  There's probably a reason they don't want you to apply any ointments, I can imagine they might trap contaminants close to the open wound and would cause more problems than they would solve.

    Definitely talk to your vet about possibly increasing the fiber IF his stools are soft.  Indie has fiber responsive diarrhea (but no anal gland problems - thank doG) and he was initially put on Purina OM because of it's high fiber content.  If you want to try the psyllium husks and the vet approves giving it a try, you can find them at health stores or in the health section of some grocery stores.  I would start with a small amount mixed with water or broth, like 1/4 tsp. per day to see how he does.  You want to go slow with fiber because it can cause them to be constipated, which would be very bad for a poor dog with an abcessed anal gland.  Again, I would check with the vet, it might be that firming up stools is not advised until after the rupture has healed, you wouldn't want to aggravate the problem while it's trying to heal.

    If this is the first time it's happened, I would take a wait and see approach once he's healed up.  Try adding the arabinogalactan powder, it doesn't interfere with antibiotics and can only improve his immune system.  It doesn't cause a noticeable difference in bowel consistency that I've seen.  You could continue using it once he's healed and maybe visit the vet once a week to monitor the glands.  I did this for Woobie for a while when I first started because I didn't want him to get congested to the point of being clogged or infected.  After about a month, the tech said he was clear and fine and just to watch for scooting or biting at his rear.

    I have some articles that are more specific to treatment of ruptures in dogs I'll email to you.  There's an ointment that's been tested with good results apparently.