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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18165
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My old German Shepherd - be 11 on Friday - has recurring

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My old German Shepherd - he'll be 11 on Friday - has recurring episodes of anal infection which resisted anti-biotics at the normal dose levels. Eventually, in desperation, his anal glands were removed and all was well for almost a year. He has now become Mr Stinky again and a course of anti-biotics has given little relief.
Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am so sorry to hear about poor Jack, he sounds miserable.

Oral antibiotics are part of the therapy for an infected perianal area but since his anal glands are gone I think we need to consider other reasons for this infection to occur.

The other possibility is that this isn't just a peri-anal infection but rather a perianal fistula. Peri-anal fistulas are often helped, at least for a while, by removing the anal glands because at least this removes some of the bacteria from the area. This disease process is more common in German Shepherds but any large breed, thick tailed dogs can be affected. We believe that this is actually an autoimmune (body attacking itself) disease process and the raw skin that results allows secondary bacterial infections. Treatment is immunosuppressive drugs like prednisolone or ketoconazole and cyclosporine orally or topical cyclosporine or tacrolimus as well as keeping the area clean with a gentle antibacterial cleaner like chlorhexidene solution or shampoo. Antibiotics to treat any secondary infections are also used.
We sometimes also try a hypoallergenic diet trial as food allergies may be a predisposing factor.

Here is a link to an article to read more about perianal fistulas in dogs if you are interested in reading more:

Another possibility is another autoimmune disease process in the pemphigus family, although we usually see lesions on other mucous membranes such as the lips, prepucial opening, mouth and periocular area. I do mention them to be complete however.

I would discuss the possibility with your veterinarian that a perianal fistula is affecting Jack rather then just a simple infection.
Best of luck with Jack, please let me know if you have any further questions.
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