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Antibiotics for anal glands?

Species: Dog
Breed: LabX
Age: 11-15 years
Hi

I have written before about our unique living situation. We are expats with our dogs in Kazakhstan. Had been avoiding vet care here because we heard not so good things. Finally, had to go in for shots and our dog had been having constant butt licking for a few weeks.

Before we left he had some problems with his anal glands. Where they needed to be expressed frequently and he was put on antibiotics. I have tried to externally express them before but that never seems to work and I just cause discomfort.

Well the local vet was able to express them after a bit by putting one finger inside and one on the outside. A bunch of very dark fluid – slightly watery and maybe some blood came out. Dog has stopped licking. I asked if we needed to come back for check up, and she said no.

When our dog had this problem in the US he needed to be re-expressed about two weeks after the first time. And take a course of antibiotics.

She did not prescribe antibiotics but did tell us to get an ichthammol suppository and give it for 10 days. This seems counter intuitive to me, since I thought a stool not being firm enough caused this problem.

I am writing for second opinion, if you have ever heard of this course of treatment. This is a senior large dog – 30 Kilo Lab Mix, 11 years old, male.
Antibiotics are easy to get over the counter if that is a better course of action.
Thanks for any advice.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for your question. I would imagine that living in a foreign country with your pets can be quite a challenge.

Anal gland issues can really vary from dog to dog. Some dogs never need them expressed. Others may need them done every few months. I have some patients who need to have them emptied monthly. At this point, if emptying the glands stopped the licking then it may be that nothing more has to be done at the time.

I would agree with you that a laxative suppository is not something that I would prescribe for an anal glad problem. I'm not sure the reasoning behind this.

I normally would not prescribe antibiotics unless there were obvious signs of infection. You mentioned that there may have been blood when the glands are expressed. That's not normal. If there was definitely blood then I'd be wondering about infection. But, often the type of material that comes out of anal glands can be black or dark brown so it's possible that what you saw was just normal secretions.

If there was a big swollen gland indicative of an abscess then I might be more likely to prescribe antibiotics. Or, sometimes if there is a case where the glands keep filling up every week or two then I might. It's debatable though whether oral antibiotics even do much for anal gland problems. Many vets will infuse antibiotics in to the glands. It's a bit tricky to do so, but often this can be more effective than oral medication.

At this point I'd probably wait and see how things go. It may just be that the glands need to be expressed every few months.

Hope that helps!

Marie


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.