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Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 16520
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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my 12 year ols jack rusel has persistant gland infections

Customer Question

my 12 year ols jack rusel has persistant anal gland infections and has to have them flushed out can they be removed and is it safe
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear about your pup, Jack's, anal gland problems.

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.

I recommend weight loss if he is overweight.

I also recommend decreasing or stopping entirely table scraps.

You can try to add additional fiber but it must be 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 perianal inflammation and irritation and that seems to stimulate anal gland secretions. If this is related to people food he is eating stopping the table food may help tremendously. Sometimes however true prescription hypoallergenic diet such Hills z/d or Royal Canin limited ingredient diets are the answer.

Another possibility for perianal inflammation and itchiness leading to anal gland inflammation are tapeworms. If he has had fleas recently it is worth treating him for tapeworms with a wormer containing praziquantal (like Droncit) to see if that helps. This isn't likely to be the full problem, but it may be a contributing factor.

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.

If the secretions get very, very thick as his have then we may need to sedate him to flush out his glands and infuse them with an antibiotic/anti-inflammatory ointment. This is often the most effective way to get his anal glands back to normal.

And of course if all else fails removal is an option, but side effects of that include possible fecal incontinence and anal strictures so you do want to make sure an experienced surgeon performs the surgery. Many people are reluctant to have surgery for their dog because of these possible side effects. Hopefully some of my other suggestions will help.

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