Okay folks, I’m warning you right now. This is another probable TMI post. Remember the one I did a while back about doggy anal glands? Consider this a follow-up. You may wish to skip this post because it’s going to be a little gross. In fact, I’m not sure exactly why I’m posting it, except for the fact that I am excessively proud of myself.
Abby started having another problem this week. Yesterday, I realized that she hadn’t defecated in over a day, which is unusual for her because she’s a regular pooper. Once a day, every day. She’s very predictable. So, when she doesn’t go, there’s a problem. She start scooting yesterday, too. Which, for her, is very different from any scoot I’ve ever seen out of a dog. She doesn’t do the grinding her butt into the carpet as she moves across the floor. No, she can’t be normal. After all, she’s one of my dogs. 😉 She sits and spins around, left and then right, very rapidly. You can’t tell if she’s just wound up and being playful or what. I should have guessed, as I now remember that she’s done this before. Mental note made. Hopefully, my recall mechanism will work in the future.
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Anyway, she was acting a bit odd, so after she did a sit and spin cycle, I had Terry hold up her hind quarters so that I could check her behind. Her anus looked just a little puffy, so I squeezed just a bit to assess and she gave a little squeak. Yep, that’s it. I had Terry take her outside to see if she would defecate. I told her, she was either going to poop for Daddy or get the finger. She didn’t poop, so she got the finger. And by that, I mean that I had to express her anal glands. From the inside out. Yeah, I went there. Into the nether regions of my poor dog with a finger.
Let me back up a second first, though. We were at the vet with Lily a couple of weeks ago when she was having the bloody stool. I probably didn’t mention that. Yes, she now gets probiotics and Metamucil with her dinner. What a fuss. Doggie daycare will love dealing with that the next time we board them. But that’s a whole different story. Anyway, while we had her in, I asked if they would show me how to express the glands. I had discussed this with a different vet (there are several at this clinic and I love them all) the last time we were in and he said it would be no problem. I decided that it was necessary since Lily is pretty full just about every time she’s in to the vet. Might as well save a little money ($25 for the office visit and $15 for them to express the glands) and do it myself. That way, I can take care of her as soon as she starts to scoot. So, this time when we were in, I mentioned it to the tech, along with my litany of topics to discuss with the vet. She looked at me oddly, like I might not be quite in my right mind. She might have even said, “Really?” I don’t remember. So, the vet comes in a few minutes later and we start talking through everything, mainly focusing on her bowel issues. I repeat the same thing to him that I told the tech. I want to learn how to express her anal glands, especially since she has regular issues with them. I got a strange look and reaction from him, as well. He told me that very few pet owners are willing to do it themselves. But then, I’m not your average furmommy. I’m all for regular, preventive care at home to keep my dogs healthy and happy. I mentioned before that Phoebe had a rupture anal gland once. It wasn’t pretty and it was painful for her. It’s not something that I want to have happen to another animal ever again. So, I’m willing to do what’s necessary. Bring it on.
So, the vet and I both gloved up and lubed up. He said that I am fortunate to have such thin fingers, so that I can still use my forefinger, even though Lily is so tiny. I inserted one finger, felt around and found the gland. Unfortunately, I then lost it and wasn’t able to find it again, so I couldn’t actually express it, but I think he was impressed that I was able to find it in the first place. So, we agreed that I would practice on her some other time, as she was quite done with us probing her by this point and was whimpering.
I hadn’t yet bothered to practice. But yesterday, the time had come. This was it. Do it or take Abby in and have them check her. I was pretty sure, though, that those darned glands were the problem. I took a deep breath and dove in (gloved and lubed, of course, with a tissue in hand). She was much easier than Lily, being larger in size. I felt something odd, though, as I started in. What the heck? There’s something definitely wrong or strange going on in her anus. Oh wait, that’s a poop. Ew. Yeah, she’s holding it in, so there’s a serious gland problem. I found the left one pretty easily and squeezed, with the forefinger on the inside and the thumb on the outside. I’m getting nowhere here. Am I really squeezing the gland? Or is it a roll of skin/tissue? Hmmm… No, it’s a definite bulbous structure. Long story short, there’s actually an art to expressing these darned things. And what came out was definitely not normal. That girl’s gland was stopped up like you wouldn’t believe. Terry said that she was really tense when I started, but as soon as I expressed the left gland, she relaxed noticeably. She still wasn’t happy, mind you, but then I wouldn’t be either, if I was her. Or is it if I were her? Anna?
Anywho… Left gland, check. Right gland, check. Well, while I’m at it, I might as well put on a new glove and get Lily, as well. She’s abnormal, big surprise. The glands are supposed to be at the 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock positions. Which is where Abby’s were, pretty much. Lily’s? No, she has to be different. This is why I had trouble finding them at the vet’s office and thought that I couldn’t possibly be in the right spot when I felt what I thought were her glands. Hers are at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock. That’s why. That’s my little Lily. She’s a little off. Her right eye is off and her anal glands are off. Oh, and her personality is off, too. She’s definitely… um… unique. 😉
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There we go. Both dogs taken care of. Now, the real proof would be in the pudding. Oh. Perhaps that wasn’t the best analogy. 😆 The next time Terry took Abby outside, I wanted to see if she would poop. And there she went. Awesome.
I have rarely been this proud of myself. I took on a challenge that most pet owners wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. And really, there’s a good reason for it. That stuff stinks. I could smell it for hours. But the payoff was well worth it. And I can care for my dogs even better than before. I rock.