Diet can Help but Manual Expression is a Must

Question:
I have a 2 year old Apple head Chihuahua. Her name is Sunny and so is her disposition! She has had a problem in the past needing her anal glands expressed. Our veterinarian recommended a list of several different food choices. I have tried several on the list, however they all have small kernels and she chokes on them easily. Last night I was in fear of performing a doggy Heimlich maneuver.

Dr. Nichol:
Anal glands just have to be the most unfun, uncouth, and undignified part of a dog’s body. Located beneath the skin, at about the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock positions relative the anus, these useless vestiges generate some of the most putrid fluid ever encountered by man or beast. Small dogs like Chihuahuas, regardless of the fruit their heads resemble, and miniature poodles suffer more than their share of anal gland impactions, infections, and abscesses.

It’s easy to know if a dog’s anal glands are acting up. When that sudden itch strikes most will scoot (drag their rear ends), lick, or suddenly take off as if they were shot from a cannon. It isn’t at all amusing; it’s miserable. The best immediate management is to have Sunny’s anal glands expressed (emptied). It doesn’t require an 8 year college degree. You can learn to do it yourself-if you have the stomach for it.

A diet change could make a difference for Sunny’s rear end conundrum. Dr. Alice Wolf, of the Veterinary Information Network, points out that “Adding fiber to the diet may help.” Your veterinarian is also right. In addition to possibilities like airborne allergies, mange, and infections food sensitivity could be the primary cause of the itching that has led to Sunny’s posterior predicament.

A prescription novel protein or a hydrolyzed protein diet may be the solution but to be diagnostically useful it must be the only thing Sunny eats for 8-10 weeks. Her doctor can supply you with safe choices that would avoid a choking risk.

If all else fails, those pesky little anal glands, being completely devoid of redeeming qualities, can be surgically removed. One way or another Sunny should not have to suffer the embarrassment of being chased around by her own anatomy.