Doggy Woes

Warning: Probable TMI about dogs ahead. If you are not interested, please avert your eyes now. (That one was for you, Anna.)

For those of you who don’t know much about dog anatomy, there are these two little glands on the backside of a dog. They produce quite the odoriferous emanations (a signature scent, actually) and are what dogs are checking out when they sniff each other.

Well, these two little glands can sometimes cause quite a problem for dogs. They are expressed normally through the regular act of going to the bathroom and, in most dogs, you never even know that they are there, nor do you really need to. In fact, many of you are really having a TMI moment right now. Sorry. You don’t have to read this if you don’t want to; I’m not forcing you. 🙂

Anyway, as I was saying, normally these glands function just fine on their own. However, if your dog isn’t getting enough fiber, not going often enough, not producing optimal quality stool (“now I’m an optimal pooper”), then the glands will fill up. This goes through degrees of “badness,” ranging from full to impacted to ruptured. Phoebe never had a problem in her life until she ruptured one a few years ago. I swear, you will never ever see any other mess like that. It’s a terrible, smelly, bloody thing. I wish it had never happened to poor, patient little Phoebe. But I am now a much better informed parent.

So, of course, nowadays, I am far more concerned about dog stool than I would care to be. Abby, not a problem; produces good stuff regularly. Lily, not so much. We’ve already had the vet express her glands manually twice, I think. An optimal pooper, she is not. However, this week was actually Abby’s turn to develop a major problem. She had been red, tender and sore in that area since we got her back from doggie daycare. She was even having a bit of a smelly leakage problem (that really should have been my first clue that she needed to see the vet, as I knew full well that the leakage was from the anal glands). We’ve been keeping an eye on it and there was definitely a swelling issue going on. However, I thought that it would eventually heal itself and I didn’t realize that the swelling wasn’t just the rectum, but must have been the glands, as well. Until I took her outside Friday afternoon and she squeaked and stopped mid-“movement.” Knowing that she was sore, but really need to complete the act, I encouraged her to continue. She did, letting out a pretty good squeal in the process. Not a good thing when your dog hurts so badly just going to the bathroom. Naturally, I immediately called the vet as soon as I got her inside. They had actually just closed for the day, but the receptionist scheduled me for the next morning and talked to the doctor on call, who was still there, to see if he felt it was an emergency. We all figured she could wait until the morning.

Morning comes and both girls are so excited, they run into their crate. I think they thought they were going back to doggie daycare. Needless to say, it was a rude awakening for them to end up at the vet’s office. I think I’ll have to take them back for a day at daycare to make it up to them. Anyway, they take Abby to the back room to take a look and do what needed to be done (they spare you the uber-smelly parts). There was a lot of squealing, whining then whimpering going on. I really, REALLY hate hearing that sound coming from one of my dogs. Truly. Hate. It. But it’s a necessary evil. They brought her back out and she actually licked the tech, so she must not have held a grudge. The vet said that her glands were very full, but not impacted, fortunately. They “expressed nicely.” If there really is such a thing. Of course, she stank to high heaven, so the first thing we did when we got back was to plop both of them in the tub (not at the same time) and give them a thorough shampoo and conditioning. They both smell much nicer, though their breath could certainly use some improvement. But that’s a whole other story.

Sunday morning came and Abby was back to her normal, cheerful self. She’s playful, energetic and seems to be happy. After a week of concern, I’m relieved, to say the least. I have no idea what caused her to have a problem, though. Terry thinks that maybe she was holding back while at doggie daycare and caused the issue herself. I’m not sure. So, now I know that I have to keep a close eye on both of them. Yippy skippy. I just love carefully scrutinizing doggy behinds, don’t you?

So, there you go. More than you probably ever wanted to know about a dog’s behind, but if you’re a dog owner, you might want to be armed with at least a little bit of information. I encourage you to research it more on your own, especially if your dog tends to “scoot” a lot.

Honestly, what adventures we have in this household.

About Jenna Magee

IT professional, needleworker, editor/proofreader, author, singer, musician.
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6 Responses to Doggy Woes

  1. Anna says:

    I love that “optimal pooper” ad. Glad the issue is “worked out” for now.

  2. Leslie says:

    Hope the girls are doing better. Growing up I had both a cat and dog with anal gland issues. We very frequently had synchronized scooting going on in our home! I do not consider myself to have a sensitive nose, but boy does that stink.

  3. Coral says:

    Poor all of you! Luckily I have never had to experience this. But you do sound on top of this though!

  4. Anne R says:

    I had no problem whatsoever reading an entire post about dog poop – I’ve been talking about nothing but poop for the last 4 weeks… Did you know how different it can look/smell depending on how your intestines are doing? Honestly, I had no idea until I started my practice at a gastro-intestinal department…

    Dentastix – I’ve heard they’re the good stuff for smelly dog’s breath? (But don’t take my word for it, I’ve never owned a dog in my life. Not a bad thing per se, I’m allergic… 😉 )

  5. Michelle says:

    Yikes! Hope they are both better now. Did you manage to get to your stitching thing? How was it?

  6. Meari says:

    I knew about all that, but I don’t really pay attention and neither of my doggies ever stank to high heaven. Thank goodness.

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