(photo taken by our Spanish student Javier!)

I have a problem. Or should I say O J has the problem, but since he can’t solve it for himself I have to make a decision for him.

OJ’s anal glands have been filling up really quickly recently. He’s only needed them emptied once in two years, but a few times in the last few months. Its very gross, and very very painful. The vets doing it, i’m feeling sick and O J lies down on the floor in pain. Obviously I need to do something about it soon, as its not helping the fear of going to the vet that he already has anyway.

The kennel supervisor in Cork said that this can be caused by a lack of fibre in their diet, and to try a couple of things first: giving him a carrot daily, or putting a handful of bran in his food. This will make his poo firmer and prevent the glands from filling up.
If these didn’t work she suggested changing his food or having his glands removed completely. I don’t know much about the latter, but apparently its not a big deal. I was hoping that the food wouldn’t be what’s causing this, as I think his food works well for him. The hastle of getting him used to a different type, and making sure he’s not sick or going to the toilet when he’s not meant too etc sounds like a pain. If the food is causing the problem then I’m obviously happy to change it.

My aunt is a yoga teacher and kenesiologist, among many things. She does food tests for people to see what they are alergic too, and believes in herbal remedies and alternative medecin for treatment. She often tested their cats, dogs and horses and treated them this way, and has offered to test OJ sometime.
I mentioned the anal glands to her the other day, and she wants to test him in a few weeks when she gets back from a course. It can’t do him any harm, and will be interesting to see what comes out of it. She can see if his food agrees with him, and maybe it just needs something simple like a herb added.
She was surprised at the bran suggestion, and completely against having his glands removed, but she avoids doctors like the plague anyway, so that’s not surprising. I thought this could be the best option, if its not a big job and won’t affect his work too much. If its a lifelong problem that I can do something about then I want to help.

So now I don’t know what to do. I’m going to have him tested anyway just out of interest. I wonder in general, should more natural products be used to treat animals when possible? Sometimes when you go to the vet with a problem, the dog is injected with something or other straight away, and I sometimes wonder if there’s a more natural way of treating this? Does anyone have any suggestions as to waht I could do?

On a completely different note, I walked to town to leave our Spanish student to his friends house earlier. He took Dougal and I took OJ, or should that be OJ took me! Anyway I was meeting my mum in my aunts, so when Javier went to his friends I had to walk with both dogs up the town and down to her house. I got stopped so many times, as I’d imagine both dogs attracted a bit more attention. It was freezing, so I wasn’t really in the mood to stop and chat. I’ll have to leave taking Dougal into town for sunny days, if there are such things in Ireland.

Currently reading: Keane: the autobiography
Currently listening to: REM live at the Olympia, thanks to an unline friend who sent me two limited addition REM cds in the post. I was only expecting one so was delighted. The Olympia one is brilliant, especially if you like your old REM tunes. If your expecting ‘everybody hurts’ and ‘losing my religion’ and all the hits you’ll be disappointed.


8 thoughts on “Confused…

  1. Poor little pumpkin. When I worked as a groomer we were MADE to do the anal glands even if there wasn't a problem. I think it is opening the flood gates so to speak. Probably this is what happend and now it is a real problem.With anal sac disease there are basically three things that go wrong. The glands can be impacted, they can get infected or they can rupture — all three are thought to be variations of the same disease.Many anal gland problems are thought to be either a food allergy or atopy, which are inhaled allergies. Parasites can also cause anal sac disease and the glands can also become cancerous. Often times this disease reoccurs as anyone who has had a dog with it can tell you.I agree with your aunt – only remove unlessn absolutely necessary (ie cancer)Will put my head and my friend's head (she's a dog nutritionist) and come up with a diet plan.

  2. Changing food can be a hastle. You could lead to him spending when he hasn't done in the past E.G on walks and stuff. This seems to be a problem cropping up with some Guide Dogs so I wonder why it might be? In the long term removing them might be the only alternative but the centre in Cork go to a particular practise of vets which can do specific tests and I took Ralph there so if you wanted another vets opinion you might consider it worth going there. Cheers, Nicky.

  3. Hi Jenny – I'm a vet, and you sent me at email to about this. You're always going to get different opinions on this subject because there isn't one simple answer.Firstly, the advice that you've had to date seems spot-on – there are some dogs that have this problem that seem to respond to extra fibre in their diet – the theory is that the anal glands are meant to be squeezed out by the faeces being passed, and if the faeces is low-residue, it isn't bulky enough to squeeze the glands. Some dogs get better once the fibre is increased.Secondly, I agree with much of what Green-tea says – removal of anal sacs should only be the last resort – you should look into food allergy/atopy first. Food allergy is the easiest one to sort. Food allergy is always to a specific protein, and to be allergic, he must have been sensitised to it by prior exposure. So you need to feed a diet that is made up of protein that he's never encountered before. You can home cook for him (e.g. mutton and rice) or you can buy special single-protein commercial diets via your vet. The idea would be to give him a trial diet for 4 – 6 weeks, and if he doesn't get better, then you've ruled dietary allergy out. If he does get better, you add different proteins one at a time to find out what's OK for him.Atopy – or inhalant allergy – would be the next allergy to look at – that involves a blood test or an intradermal skin test.Your own vets are the best folk to guide you through this – they may be comfortable doing the work up themselves, or they may prefer to refer you to a vet with a special interest in skin disease. Hope this helps a bitPete

  4. Hello Jennifer Poor OJ hope something can be sorted soon, I do remember when Pearce was on Eukanuba his sacs filled up fairly quickly and it was very uncomfortable for him and his stools were always soft so that explains it so I asked if they would change his food and so they changed it to Royal Canin German Shepard Adult for sensitive dogs and it works really well and he gets 1 or 2 carrots a day and most days an apple too and I have had no problems. Good Luck and hope he gets better soon

  5. Lena that's interesting that he gets so much fruit and veg daily. I wish they'd told us more about giving dogs this when we trained, as well as some simple advice that might solve problems like O J's.I've put grated carrot in his food twice and he seems to lick the bowl a lot longer than usual when he's finished so he must like it!

  6. Awesome blog btw. When I first got Holden he needed his emptied quite a bit, but as soon as I switched to a raw diet he never had an issue. He was eating venison and duck when I got him. Mostly I feed Acana (chicken) or Orijen Adult with raw every now and then. The one time I tried to go back to feeding venison his glands became impacted again. His was definitely food related.

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