View Full Version : Anal gland absess

Emma n Renco
3rd April 2008, 03:27 PM
My sister has a Tri colour cavalier called Toby - 2 years old and he was doing this funny walk rubbing his bum on the carpet and unfortunately it's one of the things I have never heard of since being a cavalier owner.

Searching on here now, I have read a number of posts and so it is obviously very common with this breed.

Yesterday she came home and there was blood all over the floor and following an emergency trip to the vet, Amy learnt that it was an absess that had burst in one of his anal glands. The poor thing was in so much pain after and now has antibiotics and pain killers. Amy can't understand why she didn't pick up that something was wrong before. IS the bum rubbing the sign of them having this problem?

Our vet has never mentioned this to us with our dogs. Is expressing the glands a procedure that should be done regularly. ( I don't plan on doing it myself but I will book vets appointments regularly if needed). How often would a dog need this doing do you think?

3rd April 2008, 03:41 PM
Our Chester suffers with full anal sacs and only just had them cleaned at the Vets. I am not sure of all the technical bits but I dont think dogs use these as they would if there were wild so they tend to get full up. Our Vet cleans Chesters every 3 months when we go back to get his worming tablet. She said anymore than that and he would need them removed. Apparently it is another common problem with this gorgeous breed.

I think scooting is a sign of them being full but not necessisarily just that, I sometimes think Chester does it when he has an itch he cant quite get too! I think scooting is pretty common with Cavs' as well.

I hope Toby is starting to feel better.

Barbara Nixon
3rd April 2008, 04:23 PM
Amy can't understand why she didn't pick up that something was wrong before. IS the bum rubbing the sign of them having this problem?

Our vet has never mentioned this to us with our dogs. Is expressing the glands a procedure that should be done regularly. ( I don't plan on doing it myself but I will book vets appointments regularly if needed). How often would a dog need this doing do you think?

They can scoot their bottoms for all kinds of reasons, including using the carpet as toilet paper. However, they can have an anal gland problem without showing any symptoms. The first I knew of Izzy's was when I noticed a spot of blood on the hearth whose slates he had been lying touching. When I looked closer he had a hole, with blood, that I thought was the result of piercing by a nail. Monty had one a few months ago and , again the only way I found out was when I noticed some blood on the floor. Due to his age, his hasn't helaed normally and has left an external opening, but it doesn't bother him now or then, when he didn't appear to have any discomfort.

Izzy was the only one with just blocked glands more than once and I could tell, because on these occasions he would refuse to jump on the bed and would lurk under the dining table, out of reach. His were easy to empty (not all are) so I dealt with them myself. On the one occasion that Joly had trouble, I had to use the vet, as Joly's aren't so easy to empty.

Emptying should only be done when necessary.

3rd April 2008, 04:34 PM
Sally's had her's emptied once but we're not sure if that was the problem at the time. She suddenly went off her food and was miserable and developed a horrible smell. We took her to the vet and they emptied her glands and prescribed antibiotics in case she had an infection. She was bathed the next day and then all was well again. :xfngr: no more problems. I have heard that feeding dried food and adding a little bran to the diet can firm up the poops and prevent anal sacs blocking.

3rd April 2008, 04:44 PM
Like Barbara, the first I knew of Basil's burst abscess was when the groomer spotted it - how mad a momma am I !!! He never made a peep the poor little lad, yet a friend of mine who has 2 cavvies was panic stricken one Sunday night when one of her boys was in incredible pain and had a large swelling at his back end. The abscess burst whilst she appling hot compresses - yuk the mess horrendous! But the dog seemed to be a lot more comfortable. He was put on antibiotics to clear mop up the infection.

I empty my gang's anal glands - not a nice job but someone has to do it lol

Barbara Nixon
3rd April 2008, 05:31 PM
Bev, I honestly don't think some have any pain. Monty was a real baby when he had an ear infection and wouldn't let the vet touch even his head, but he happily let them poke at his 'hole'; not a twitch.

3rd April 2008, 06:46 PM
:D What are you like Barbara, but yes I agree - Basil squealed like I don't know what when he was microchipped (not a peep out of the others) yet breezed through an anal gland abscess! :confused:

3rd April 2008, 07:20 PM
Touch wood Ive not had any anal abcesses with mine, althought Cassie had an awful smell like rotting meat yuk!!! :eek:from that region. I took her to the vets and he said its a bug that usually is found on 'rotting meat' hence the smell, he syringed saline into her bot, as he said it usually did the trick, and it did. Has anyone else had this problem?
Ive since learnt how to empty their anal glands myself.:)

3rd April 2008, 08:45 PM
I have definately heard of anal glands abscessing in Cavaliers before, but I haven't had any trouble with mine.

My vet's philosophy on anal gland emptying is: If it's not broken, don't fix it! ~ in other words, as long as we continue to stay problem free, she is not going to touch them.

I've also heard that typically once you start expressing anal glands, you have to continue to do it.. also that anybody not specifically trained to do it should, because it can create a lot of problems. ;)

Kosmo rubs his bum on the ground a lot, but I think it's because he likes to use my floor as toilet paper :rolleyes: . . Dogs..!! :lol:

3rd April 2008, 08:55 PM
Pippin had this problem last july and I didn't notice a thing until it burst...even then he didn't complain and I just noticed blood on my top when I lifted him up! My vet told me to feed him veg to bulk him up as he doesn't like emptying them too often. I got them done in september and then again last week when he was in for something else,the vet said they weren't too bad at all.

3rd April 2008, 11:35 PM
Anal gland abscess happened to Jolly back in October. He didn't have any symptoms and no odor to indicate a problem. The night before he was not happy and didn't jump. Then that evening he couldn't find a comfortable way to lay down and paced alot. Then he started to cry. His anal gland burst early the next morning and I was able to get him right to the vet. They prescribed cleaned him up, prescribed anti-biotics and he was right as rain in 2 days.

The vet tells me he will be prone to it in the future.

His dad, Luke, has had anal gland problems, but never an abscess. So I am planning on having the vet express their anal glands twice a year. Their next visit is scheduled for this coming May.

The vet also recommended adding extra fiber to their diets to help naturally express the anal glands. I give them pure canned pumpkin with their dinner and give them mini shredded wheat cubes in their meal.

4th April 2008, 10:25 AM
Please get your vet to train you to empty anal glands, this is a big problem with Cavaliers, and should at least be checked regularly.

Vets used to say that once you started emptying you had to continue, but it now seems to be that some dogs just aren't able to empty their glands - full glands are very uncomfortable and easily lead to an abscess, so it is best to check and empty them, at least every 3 months.

It's very easy once you've been taught how.

4th April 2008, 11:01 AM
Poor little Toby. This happened to Sonny shortly after we adopted him. The vet probably could not predict that this would happen. With Sonny, there was no scooting and he looked just fine in the morning. But when we got home only about 4 hours later & was all misery. It just happened so fast.

Touch wood 3 times.... Sonny only had that one episode & has never had his anal glands expressed since. Our vet is against expressing anal glands unless there is an obvious problem. I don't know if it is a change of diet or just good luck but since that one time he has been fine.

10th April 2008, 11:24 PM
Well, Leo just ruptured a gland tonight and I agree that it sometimes doesn't necessarily cause more then brief discomfort though I'd always heard these could be very painful. I noticed he was snapping at his hindquarters but then he stopped and I couldn't find anything when I checked him over. Only an hour or so later did I notice blood and it took me ages to realise it was Leo. He allowed me to gently clean the area with warm soapy water and doesn't seem very bothered by it --he's since had a walk and I cleaned him up again just to keep the area washed. This all happened after the vets had closed and as he isn't in any discomfort, I'll take him in to the vet in the morning. It seems to have drained cleanly but he will need antibiotics. The abscess came up very quickly as I didn't notice it at all earlier in the week when grooming him.

It's not difficult to empty anal glands -- anyone who wants to do this can ask their vet or groomer to show them, but most feel they'd rather leave the pleasure to either of those folks. :lol:

Toy breeds are said to be more prone to problems than larger breeds because the anal gland openings are smaller and block more readily. Cavaliers in general seem to scoot a LOT -- my own feeling is that there are reasons why they do this, and why the breed is prone to this, as I can't see why a dog would just do it for no reason. I have friends with small dogs that almost never scoot. Why they scoot is another question. icon_nwunsure

I wouldn't squeeze glands on a dog that doesn't seem to have any problems, but one difficulty with cavaliers is -- if so many of them scoot frequently, then is this anal gland problems or not? I have also heard the argument that 'once you start doing it, you have to keep doing it' but I cannot imagine why this should be so. Either the openings function well enough to pass the fluid, or they are too small and the dog risks abscesses, I'd have thought. I usually have the vet do their glands if I am in as all my cavaliers scoot regularly, but that is maybe only once or twice a year. This is the first gland problem I have had though.

12th April 2008, 09:22 AM
Hi all i'm glad i've finally got a name for this SCOOTING, as we were just calling it the bum dance!:rotfl:A lady who we know who has had lots of cavaliers, was of the opinion that if they are scooting regularly (as ours do on kitchen tiles) it's somehow unblocking it ? and she then said just get the vwt to take a look at check ups. Does anyone know if its really as simple as this?

12th April 2008, 01:34 PM
Could be. I only have the vets check when I go in and always have them empty the glands.

Further to Leo: I take back what I said on pain; he now is quite uncomfortable. We were two hours at the vet in between Leo and Lucy,who has a small corneal ulcer. :(

Leo said the vet has a very high pain threshold -- he gently allowed all sorts of poking and cleaning and shaving, a blood sample taken, and the other gland emptied, without any complaint though the vet said he must have been very uncomfortable. She is a bit concerned at how fast the abscess came on and how swollen he is. She thinks there's a small chance i could be a tumour, which could be serious -- hence she did the blood test for calcium levels etc. These came back normal, which is good, but not conclusive, unfortunately. He's on antibiotics and I am keeping the area clean and hopefully the swelling will go down over the next week, in which case we are just ('just'!) dealing with the abscess and it won't be a tumour.

I just hate anything happening with Leo as he already lives with some pain due to his SM. The abscess is definitely spiking his SM pain levels as he is scratching a lot -- On discussion with my vet, I have upped his gabapentin levels slightly while we are dealing with this. He slept well all night though which is good and am hoping he will be a lot more comfortable by tomorrow once the antibiotics begin to kick in.

Lucy has some ointment and liquid tears to keep her eye lubricated. Incidentally the vet said her own glands were quite distended so they were emptied. She has very firm poops always, and eats lots of vegetables and roughage, so goes to show that a good diet will not necessarily keep glands emptied. I know far too much about anal glands at the moment!

All the reasons why dog ownership isn't cheap!! :eek:

12th April 2008, 01:48 PM
Oh I'm so sorry that Leo is sore - bless him, he has enough to deal with :(

I really hope this is "just" an abscess - I know Rupert used to have them in teh past {fortunately not for a few years now} and they could be very painful before and afterwards

Gentle hugs for both Leo and Lily, hope they will both be more comfortable soon.

12th April 2008, 02:47 PM
I got on line a bit ago to find out to express anal glands
It doesn't look like that big of a deal to me.
Does anyone find this hard to do?

By the way, up until now, I thought anal expression was a term for a rock singer.

12th April 2008, 03:34 PM
up until now, I thought anal expression was a term for a rock singer.

:lol: No it isn't that difficult; just messy. A vet or groomer will usually be willing to demonstrate.

Nicki, what do you use for pain relief? I was told morphine has reactions with gabapentin.

12th June 2009, 07:07 PM
i understand how to do them, but i've never been successful at it. i don't think i put enough pressure on the area. the dogs always look very uncomfortable when they've had to have it done and squirm a lot, and i'm afraid the push too hard! i don't have to do it anymore now that they are on a grain-free food (yes, i believe this is the reason) thankfully. 2 years and counting on casey, who until i switched her food i had to have them emptied every 3 months.

3rd May 2012, 08:52 PM

My Troy has had problems with his anal glads for a very early age. He doesnt rub his bum on the floors etc, however, he developes a very funny walk at the back end of him. He was at vets yesterday as i noticed in the morning his walk was going to his funny walk, sure enough his anal glands were nearly full! I would suggest that your sister watches for any slight characteristic changes.