Anal Glands - Very Long Post

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Vergne's Mom's picture
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Joined: 2015-09-02

Hello All,

I am desperately looking for help for my dobie Vergne.  So back in December 2016 Vergne started excessively chasing his tail and licking his butt.  We brought him into the vet on 12/21/2016 and the vet expressed his anal glands and discovered he had an infected anal gland so he prescribed an antibiotic Ciprofloxacin.  We brought him in for a follow-up on 12/27/2016 and the infection was still very present so the vet recommended we do a surgical procedure to have Vergne put under anesthesia to have his anal glands flushed and packed with a dissolvable antibiotic.  We brought Vergne in for the surgical procedure the following day 12/28/2016.  Before putting him under anesthesia we had a mini panel of blood work done and everything came back normal so they proceeded with surgery.  We brought him in for a follow up on 12/31/2016 where the infection was still slightly present so the vet recommended we put him on a different round of antibiotics and an antihistamine. He also was still chasing his tail, not as bad as before the procedure but none the less still chasing his tail.  So he was prescribed the antibiotic Cephalexin and antihistamine Hydroxyzine Pamoate.  He finished these prescriptions and went back for a follow up where the infection seemed to be gone. (YAY! finally some relief for my poor baby).  Fast forward to 02/16/2017 he starts to chase his tail again.  We bring him into the vet where he expresses Vergne's anal glands and states normal anal gland material was expressed and there was no infection present.  Fast forward again to 04/22/2017 he has started to excessively chase his tail again.  We bring him back into the vet again where he expresses his anal glands and notes the infection is back, but not nearly as bad as before.  He also had a small rash present inside of his lower legs, a few small red bumps/patches here and there.  He again prescribes him an antibiotic Cephalexin and antihistamine Hydroxyzine Pamoate.  We call the vet for a phone follow up on 04/26/2017 to let them know the rash is still present and he is still chasing his tail badly.  They prescribe a third medication a corticosteroid Vetalog and ask us to call in again 05/01/2017 for a phone follow up. At this point the rash is barely present anymore, but he is still chasing his tail and licking his butt badly - to the point if hes not laying down/sleeping he is chasing his tail.  I feel so bad for him, because obviously it is really bothering him.  Anyways, the vet says they want to re-fill all three medications he was on, the antibiotic Cephalexin, the antihistamine Hydroxyzine Pamoate, and the corticosteroid Vetalog.  I just am looking for advice for anyone who maybe has dealt with anal gland issues such as the ones I have described above.  I don't know if we should take him to get a second opinion.  It just seems like the medications are not helping him at all and obviously we can't keep putting him under anesthesia to have them flushed and packed.  All the reading I was doing online seems like there is not much you can do for something like this.  I know the last final option is to have the anal glands surgically removed but that can cause risks of incontinence or him not being able to control his bowel movements, not to mention I am not even sure of the cost of the surgical procedure.  We have spent $515 so far on visits, surgery, medications and still seem to be at the same place we were when this started last December.  If I refill the three medications that is another $75 we are looking at.  I also want to mention he is on grain free food and has been his entire life.  So please if anyone has read this far, if you can give me any advice or ideas of what we should do to help our poor boy.  I'm just not sure that a second opinion is going to offer us any other solutions and I don't want to pay more for an initial examination for them to just prescribe him more medications.  Thanks for taking the time to read this.  Looking forward to hearing from some people who may have experienced something similar.  Thank you! 

I would maybe ask for a referal to a specialist. I personally have never had anal gland issues in my 25+ years in this breed so don't have any personal experience. 

Also, Grain free is great, but it still may not be the right food for him. What are you feeding?  Some dogs can't tolerate different forms of protein and you might want to try a single protein source that is different from what he is on. 

An example of this is Chicken. Chicken is the most used protein source for dog food, but I have had two dogs that developed allergies to it. One has now passed, but my boy, Harvard, will get itchy with a rash if he eats too much of it. I've had my guys on a grain free fish kibble for years..... but I also know of a Doberman that was allergic to fish, so no one food is best for all dogs. 

Vergne's Mom's picture
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Joined: 2015-09-02

Thank you so much for the response.  Yeah, my husband and I were discussing a specialist.  We currently feed him Pure Balance grain free Salmon and Peas. He started to become a little picky with his food so we started to mix a little Pure Balance grain free Venison and Bison.  We were talking last night, trying to determine when we started adding that because I feel as though maybe that could possibly be what has started this back up.  So starting today we did not add any of that this time.  Just the salmon and peas as well as Fortiflora probiotic.  I also wanted to pick up some pure pumpkin to maybe start mixing in to add more fiber for him.