View Full Version : Two different dogs, two different problems

10th January 2007, 10:29 PM
Wallis (named for Wallis Simpson) has always had problems with anal glands. Icky subject, I know. She has had a small growth in one gland for some time, but the vet told us at the first of Dec. that it has grown and that he wants to remove it - the growth, not the gland unless he just has to. She also has a place on her side that started out the size of a BB then suddenly grew to the size of a marble that will be removed at the same time. This growth is in the skin only, and not attached any other way.

I know that some very unpleasant issues can arise if the anal glands are removed, although my vet says he doesn't think that the removal will be necessary. I'm just a nervous wreck over it - she's my oldest baby and the dearest thing in the world. And I'm not sure I trust the vet. I've already asked for permission to watch in surgery (I have helped in my share of surgeries in the past!) but he says no.

Tibby is my rescue girl - or actually my husband belongs to her and I'm only good for special occassions! She was ~3 yrs old when we got her, which would make her around 7 now. Up until the last year or so she has been great, albeit a bit timid. Suddenly she started itching frantically and in no time her behind looked like a orangatan's (SP). No hair. It took a phone call requesting info on the local vet dermatologist to get my vet to realize that we have a serious problem with her, and of course he sees one flea and that's the answer.

She was allergy tested and tested positive for both mold and mildew (wonderful for a FL dog) and has been on allergan injections for several months with no noticable improvement.

Some of the problem is psychological IMO because she tends to have more "spells" of the frantic scratching when hubby gets home from work and we are having conversation. Needs attention, which he lavishes on her. But the poor dog is still miserable.

We use Frontline and Capstar for the fleas, plus treating the house and yard.

Anybody else had any kind of problems along this line? Maybe I'm just venting because I feel so helpless. I've considered taking Wallis to KY to have the surgery done by one of the vets I know there so I would feel more comfortable, but I don't know what to do for poor Tibby. We are open to suggestions about changing foods, additives, supplements, etc.

Thanks for listening - and any help you may be able to give!!

11th January 2007, 01:08 AM
I would advise to make sure you know about syringomyelia and that your vet understands this breed issue as well (few vets will ever have seen a dog with SM and are unaware of the high rate of affectedness in cavaliers).

Frantic scratching when excited is one possible sign -- because when a dog is happy and excited, its heart beat increases, which intensifies the flow of the fluid that circulates around the brain and down the spine. Due to the blockages to this flow with SM and the skull malformation associated with it, the pressure hikes way up and that in turn places pressure on the nerve endings within the spine. Sudden fits of scratching is a frequent result.

If your vet cannot find any other reason for the scratching, and she shows no improvement from various treatments, please consider looking more closely at SM as a possibility.

I have a lot more detail on this here:


Have a read through the symptoms document, Dr Rusbridge's Syringomyelia Made Simple, and my page on what to do if you think your dog has SM. This gives a list of things to eliminate -- including things that may cause scratching. There could of course be other causes -- but the fact that the scratching intensifies at the time you say it does would make me inclined to talk to a neurologist if any of the other potential symptoms sound familiar, this continues, and nothing else helps the scratching.

The one other less serious thing I'd be thinking of is rabbit mites -- some vets don't seem aware of these. A skin scraping would spot them.

Allergy tests can be inaccurate, even the proper medical ones. I find I actually have little or no reaction to many of the things I am supposed to be allergic to, including cats -- I live with four of them. :)

11th January 2007, 02:51 AM
Karlin - you have given me so much to read and think about I'll probably be up all night! Thank you for the information. I think Wallis' problem with joints is due to age (and a bit overweight), but some of these things seem to hit Tibby right on the head - no pun intended.

Out of curiosity I looked at the list of neurologists on the website. One lives in the same city I'm in, although I'd be more than willing to drive to the vet school at Auburn, AL, where several doctors are mentioned.

Thank you again. I will let you know how this search goes.

Cathy Moon
11th January 2007, 11:46 AM
In regards to Wallis, if you're not sure you'd trust the vet to do the surgery, could you find a better vet nearer to your home? I'm wondering if there is a veterinary college, or a large practice with specialists reasonably nearby?

Also, we know a cav, age 11, who had his anal glands removed several months ago, and he's fine. :flwr:

11th January 2007, 01:14 PM
Cathy -
One of the many parts about moving away from KY was leaving all the vets I knew and had worked for. And to be honest, I didn't really know how to look for a new one when we got here. Being in a big city, there are many veterinarians to choose from; I'm just in an emotional dither over her and don't know where to start looking! The University of FL also has a veterinary school and it isn't far away. (Part of the problem is that I have spent the last few years dealing with a dr for myself; I have fibromyalgia and his method of treatment was to pile drugs on me until I was not myself for some time - another long story!)

Wallis is not eating the way she has in the past, which is also bothering me. She used to be the first to clean her bowl then look for more. She didn't finish her food yesterday and didn't touch it today before she went to the groomer - but she may be pouting because we had to board them for so long over C'mas. I have to remind myself that she wasn't eating normally before we went away and that I really need to address that before surgery.

I think I've just hit a big emotional wall!! I hate this feeling, especially when I used to be in such control over what happened to my dogs and who to go to with what problem.

Thanks for telling me about the other Cav w/anal gland issues. Good news helps!

And thanks for letting me use you guys as a sounding board.

11th January 2007, 05:25 PM
I have heard EXCELLENT things about UF's vetinary school. A lady who works for CKCS rescue uses them for her dogs (she has 8 and still takes fosters!!! :yikes) She says the price is so much better compared to going to specialists and that they call her at home regularly to check on the progress of her dogs. She lives in Orlando and makes that drive just because she is so impressed with them.

Cathy Moon
11th January 2007, 05:56 PM
Critter, I can't remember if you posted how old Wallis is. But if she is elderly, I know what you mean about how careful you need to be about her health and any treatments for her problems. I had a tiny 14.5 year old maltese mix who died, before I got cavaliers, and I found a vet who studied Chinese herbs and acupuncture/acupressure to treat my tiny baby's arthritis. He really made it possible for her to have a good quality of life without harming her organs with strong medications like NSAIDs.

We have Florida members on CavTalk named Doggydad and Doggymom who have older cavs with health problems, and they have an excellent vet who they really trust. You might want to look through their posts and possibly PM them to find out more about their vet. Just a thought. :flwr:

12th January 2007, 05:43 AM
Thanks, Cathy - I'll look for them. Wallis is 13 years old.

At one of the clinics where I worked in KY we had a Large Animal Vet (horses) who did acupuncture and would come to our clinic to work on the Irish Wolfhounds for a client. She breeds the Wolfhounds and Cavaliers - she's the one I got Wallis from.

Thanks too for the thumbs up on UCF. It bears looking into!