Anal Gland Problem with my Bichon
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Stacy Bergmann
Posted on: February 11, 2009

I have a 6 month old Bichon. Shaggy has had problems with his anal glands since I brought him home at the tender age of eight weeks. At first, I thought that he sat funny but as he got larger and scooted for longer length and time, I realized this is a problem. He has been to the vet three times for this problem in the past two months. At first during his check up, I asked them to check and the vet expressed the glands. A couple of weeks later, we went away and kenneled Shaggy at the vets for a couple of days. When we brought him home he was scooting like crazy and his anal area even looked puffy and red. I took him back and was told that a urinary tract infection can cause scooting too. He was tested by sonogram, urinalysis and blood work. The test came back with slightly elevated red blood cells and as his urinary tract seemed a little inflamed, he was treated for a urinary tract infection with Amoxicilin for infection and Rymadil for inflammation. The vet checked his anal glands again and said that they were pretty full for just being expressed two weeks prior. She recommended to bring him back again in nine days to see how full they were. Since Shaggy had an appointment for neutering three weeks later, I decided to wait to see how long and frequent the scooting would be. Not to mention that I’ve spent so much money already for all these exams, etc. Three weeks later Shaggy was neutered and since he had been scooting. I had the vet check and she said that the anal glands were full again. She recommended to get them removed. I cannot afford this and don’t think it sounds humane. I have also had his feces tested for parasites and the results have been negative. He is on a commercial dry and wet food twice a day.

Please see the following postings on this website ( "Dog and Butt Scooting" and "Filled Anal Glands in Dog" for a description of anal glands and their purpose. Basically, the health of a dog’s anal glands comes down to diet. Given the optimum amount of soluble fibre and species-specific nutrition, your dog should have regular bowel movements that are easily passed which allows the anal glands to do their job and not become impacted. Please see the work of Richard Pitcairn, "Natural Health for Dogs and Cats", "The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat" by Juliette de Bairacli Levy and "The Barf Diet" by Ian Billinghurst for further ideas regarding foods you can make at home for your dog as well as recipes. In addition, herbs such as Marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis), Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) and Yellow Dock root (Rumex crispus) can help to tone your dog’s digestive tract, resulting in regular bowel movements and fully functioning anal glands. However, before you resort to herbs, please try to improve his diet and see if that makes enough difference to his problem. Remember, when you change a dog’s diet, do so gradually over a two week period. A quick changeover in food can sometimes end up in diarrhea, constipation or vomiting.

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