Painful & Inflamed Anal Glands
Similar to humans, some dogs are prone to digestive issues. Many digestive issues are directly related to the types of food your dog consumes. Food allergies or intolerance’s to certain ingredients or flavors can all lead to unhappy bellies. But, some dogs have digestive issues for other reasons such as separation anxiety or being in unfamiliar places.
A friend of ours has a German Shepherd named Ozzy. Ozzy never had stomach problems until they moved into a new house. After they moved, Ozzy started having really loose stools. They tried changing his food to a more natural brand but that didn’t work. Then they tried feeding Ozzy a bland diet of boiled chicken and white rice. This combination is often recommended by Veterinarians when dogs have an upset digestive tract. The plain chicken provides a light form of protein while the white rice acts as a gentle binder in the stomach. Unfortunately for Ozzy, the chicken and rice didn’t work either because his digestive system was already so inflamed. The irritation spread to his anal glands. It’s not uncommon for German Shepherds to have ongoing digestive issues like this.
At this point, it became difficult and painful for Ozzy to climb up stairs. He would go up the stairs carefully, while limping to favor his rear side. Then Ozzy started whimpering every time he had to go to the bathroom. He had to relieve himself but it was painful because of how irritated his anal area had become. Digestive irritation happens to many dogs, whether it be from food or environmental factors. Many times, dog owners are able to nurse their pups bag to health with at-home treatments like the chicken and rice meal. Sadly, Ozzy was past this point and he had to go to the Vet.
The Vet said Ozzy’s stomach became very upset leading to an overactive digestive tract. He started going to the bathroom more than usual which then inflamed his anus and anal glands. Irritated anal glands can become infected if not treated properly. Ozzy was put on an antibiotic to treat the infected and inflamed anal glands. Small dogs are put on a smaller dose and bigger dogs are put on a stronger dose. Stronger doses mean more medicine and this means a higher cost. Along with an antibiotic, Ozzy was also put on a low dose pain killer to ease his pain. The pain killers allowed him to go to the bathroom without crying the whole time. Such a sad sound to hear!
This combination of pain killers and antibiotics will eliminate the infection and pain but it doesn’t always last. The Vet said there was about a 40% chance his stomach and anal glands could get upset again. This is especially the case since there wasn’t a specific incident that upset his stomach (for example: eating a whole chocolate cake). If Ozzy is getting an upset stomach because he is prone to stomach issues then it is likely to happen again. In this case, the dog may be diagnosed with anal gland disease. Dogs go to the bathroom multiple times a day. Their rate of elimination doesn’t allow the anus area to rest.
If Ozzy experiences more infections then he may be put on a monthly medication which will keep his stools regular and prevent his anal glands from becoming infected. The downfall of this medication is that it’s very expensive. In our area (New England) the medication costs $500 per month. This price just isn’t feasible for many households. Option B is surgery. Surgery will be even more expensive but at least it will be a one time cost versus a monthly medication expense. We will keep our fingers crossed for Ozzy’s health!
Always be aware of your dog and his or her daily routine. Dogs are creatures of habit. Any unusual changes can be a sign that your dog needs special care or medical attention. How your dog walks, eats, groans, or goes to the bathroom can all be indicators of their health status.
Written on September 3rd, 2015
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