There is another aspect to this...after my competition-dog died, I was "anal-gland"-oversensitive.
The slightest thing, I would rush off to the vet and have the glands checked and rinsed out. The vet eventually put her foot down and told me that constant emptying and messing about would just start a problem that was not there to begin with.
I think this is quite correct, and feel that emptying glands as a routine-messure is totally wrong.
Ever since then I never even check the glands of my dogs.
And although I say I would be reluctant to do this operation again, I still would do it.
After all, 1:1000 chance are not bad odds.
It was just that I was convinced at the time that this was a piece of cake...but then NO operations ever are.
I agree with you ursula totally. I think you can mess with them too much. My past couple dogs had no problem with it and the couple times they went to a groomer I told them to not touch the glands since they do emtpy them as part of the package they told me. I said NOOOOOOO they never have problems and I don't want one! And with Cash, I only take a look if I smell that smell for a couple days. Because sometimes just a good washing is all they need back there. They might release on their own, and it leaves the feathering smelly.
I'm so sorry Ursula. How very sad. It is definitely true that even "minor" surgery is still surgery with all the risks that go with it. Certainly trying to control anal gland infections through changes in diet, adding fiber, and expressing as needed (as opposed to doing it as a matter of course, which I think is a big mistake) should be tried first. I did not mean to imply that one would just leap to the surgical option. One of my setters had a nasty anal gland infection that caused a lot of pain ... but she only had that happen one time and never again did she need her glands even expressed. Only in the case of recurrent INFECTIONS would I consider the surgery ... but even then one does have to consider the risks. Always difficult to determine just exactly what is best in each case.
I would not consider an operation unless every avenue was exhausted and tried yet again. I have heard horror stories about it.
As someone who has to empty her dog's glands every month, I would again try a diet change. My dog is not on a food I would have picked for him. It was what our breeder swears by. I tried to switch to more holistic, organic foods. Several times in fact and each brought on this anal filling issue. I never heard of a 4 month old pup having anal filling till mine did.
Each time I put him back on his Eukanuba he was much better and only required emptying about every six weeks or so on one side. I know he does have that gland located quite high up as well. So only a very firm stool will keep it at bay for so long though. Eukanuba has corn in it which he must need to keep his stool on the bulky side. If he gets too many treats or something he shouldn't, and his stool is too loose the cycle will start again. So that being the case, I just ignore that his food isn't great add some canned to it and leave him be since he is robust, active and grew like a weed this year.
Seriously though, forget what you read and find a dog food with some corn in it. Not corn gluten, or wheat but just some whole corn. You just might need the bulking up it can do because fiber does that. We don't have infections though, I don't know much about that at all. But I would consider a food allergy test done to be sure that just a diet change could help it.
The last time I took Bruar to the vets to have her anal glands emptied, it was suggested that she needs more fibre in her diet. She already eats grass every day, so I wondered about adding bran to her food to increase fibre
I wouldn't recommend a surgical option. In my experience the recovery isn't nice at all - Luna really suffered when she had to have her anal gland removed because of a cancerous tumour. That isn't to say that any surgery is nice to recover from, but she found it very unpleasant. She was continually bothered by her bottom, couldn't sit, didn't like to drink (her tail would naturally drop when drinking, and that caused her distress.) Passing stools was awful for her. She whined a lot and was obviously distressed. It wasn't until her stitches came out that she began to settle down, and that, from memory, was a full 9 or 10 days after surgery. A risk of anal gland surgery (particularly a double removal) is fecal incontinence, but thankfully Luna hasn't had this problem. I don't see how this surgery could be seen as a good idea for convenience.
That said, I understand some vets can offer laser removal, and that that significantly reduces healing time and recovery. There isn't much bleeding because the wound is cauterised by the laser. I don't have any experience of that.
Interestingly, it was only because the other anal gland became infected that the vet discovered the tumour in that anal gland. So there you go - the infection probably saved her life. That was late November/early December of last year, and I remember only too well the vet lining me up for bad news... if it is carcinoma she probably only has 3 months as it is very aggressive.... and yet here she is, almost a year on, and oh boy is she a fit and happy setter :-). I thank every day I have with her because of her history.
As for identifying a dog with an anal gland infection, it was pretty apparent with Luna. She started to drink excessively (very excessively - easy to notice), she was panting and licking her bottom. She had obvious signs of running a high fever. The vet put her on a course of antibotics to clear the infection, and also to see if that had any effect on the mass she felt in the other gland (which it didn't, leading on to surgery). The infection cleared up within a few days, and there has been no recurrence (and, so far, no need to empty the remaining gland, although the vet did express it anyway a month ago just to see that all was well).
Luna had to have her glands emptied regularly from about 3 years onwards. She used to scoot and lick a lot and that signified she was in trouble. The vet always did it for us.... didn't fancy that job much... one whiff and I could feel my stomach churn!!