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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18173
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My dog (female) is "scooting". What can I do to help her?

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My dog (female) is "scooting". What can I do to help her?
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'm so sorry to hear that Seal is so uncomfortable today.

With your description I believe that Seal is suffering from full or infected anal gland(s) or impaction of the gland(s). Rarely this can be the sign of a mass in the gland. Anal glands are scent glands located at the 5 & 7 o'clock position around the anus. If for whatever reason the glands don't empty properly or the discharge becomes too thick the gland overfills, may become infected and is painful. Eventually with nowhere else to go the gland can abscess out through the skin. 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 she eats a diet low in fiber her stools may be too small or infrequent to empty them.

As far as long term prevention I recommend weight loss if she is overweight.
I also recommend decreasing or stopping entirely table scraps.
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.

If she will let you touch the area she would benefit from a cool compress to the area, patting dry and then applying a light coat of cortisone cream (like cortaid) to the area a couple times a day.

Later today when she is more comfortable you can try placing gentle pressure externally just below the anus at about the 5 and 7 o'clock position, milking up towards the anus to see if we cannot get the glands to empty. If she gets very upset and will not let you then do not push her, they may not be able to emptied without sedation.

Unfortunately the more she licks or scoots the more painful the area will be and the more tissue trauma she will cause. An e-collar (lampshade) is a great idea if she is licking and a pair of boxer shorts may help stop her from scooting further.

If you are unable to express her glands I recommend that she see her veterinarian to check her anal glands. Do not feed her for 12 hours before her appointment as they may need to sedate her to treat her. If she seems absolutely miserable today though then she doesn't have to be fasted, they may be able to express her glands or at least get her some relief today.

Other causes of perianal itchiness include fleas, food allergies or tapeworms but but by far anal gland issues are the most common reason for scooting.

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