We are getting a little medical on the blog today. Keep James in your prayers. He has been sick for a few days. The veterinarians have things under control but I still worry.
Poodles tend to have problems with their anal glands. Not all Poodles, but overall it is pretty common in the breed. James usually gets his anal glands expressed when he gets groomed. Since he is groomed every 3-6 weeks, it is usually pretty often for him. He doesn’t have many problems. But once in Georgetown, he did get an infection. We caught it soon enough and the veterinarian in DC flushed the sac with antibiotics and sent us home with oral antibiotics. It cleared up and we were good to go.
On Monday, I had an appointment with a chiropractor for James (It is the most awesome thing for dogs if they have back or hip problems by the way! If you live in an area with horses, it is easier to find an animal chiropractor). While I was in the vet’s office, I asked if they could express James’ anal glands. The tech said she was having trouble with his right gland and poor James was really crying. She said the fluid was instead like clay and very thick and stuck. She kept trying and trying and eventually got the stuck part loose. We didn’t realize it at the time, but something else must have happened. Something was already infected maybe. Something was aggravated. Something maybe even got internally ruptured. We don’t know. Monday came and went. And Tuesday came and went.
But on Wednesday, James had trouble standing up when he woke up. He immediately collapsed on his hind legs. I walked him and he had trouble walking. He went to the bathroom and all was normal on both. When we got back from our walk, I decided to get some baby wipes and clean him up in case maybe he was itchy or something. His entire rear anus are was completely swollen! Even part of his legs and the base of his tail were swollen! I panicked (of course I did). I called the vet’s office from Monday and they didn’t have a vet in that day. So I called another vet in town.
The second vet was able to see James right away. They said his left anal sac was fine but his right didn’t look good. The vet’s tone changed and she said she didn’t like what she was feeling. She said it wasn’t a normal anal sac but it felt like a mass. She ran bloodwork, she did X-Rays and she took some cells from the mass for testing.
The good news was the X-Rays didn’t show any swollen glands or anything else unusual. The other good news was the bloodwork showed J’s calcium levels as normal. If a mass is cancerous, your dog usually has high calcium. So now we just have to wait for the results of the cells and those take 3-5 days. The vet sent us home with antibiotics and anti-nausea medicine for James.
We went home and put James down to rest. He was trembling quite a bit and we gave him his pain/inflammation prescription he has for when he hurts his back or hips playing. It helped a little. But not for long. And then James was back to trembling. Hard. I was so upset. I hated to see him in so much pain. We all headed to bed and I hoped a good sleep would help.
Around 2am Thursday morning, I woke up and James was really trembling. It was concerning. Chris said we could give him another pill, but you have to be so careful with these pills because they are really bad for a dog’s kidneys. But he was in pain and I had to take care of that pain. So we gave him another pill. But I wasn’t satisfied. I said to Chris he needed better pain medicine. This was more of an ibuprofen for dogs. We needed doggie morphine. It was 2am. So you know what that meant. We were heading to the emergency vet. Luckily we found one. And they had no other patients. The vet was really concerned about the swelling and I was just so focused on getting J hard core pain medicine. She gave him an injection and also gave us pills to take home with us. She also gave us an additional antibiotic that focuses more on gastrointestinal and you can mix it with the other good antibiotic we already had from the other vet 16 hours prior. She also shaved James’ whole rear end area and he has quite the interesting hair cut right now. I don’t have the heart to take a picture. He looks so uncomfortable and pitiful. The vet did say the mass she felt was about the size of a baseball. And she was able to pull a considerable amount of bloody/puss from the area.
We headed home and all crashed. The downside of anal glad issues if I am being real here (and if you have read this far, you must be at least somewhat interested in all of this) is that it is drippy. Stinky drippy. And since James clearly had some kind of internal swelling and possible rupture, he had a constant bloody mixed with anal fluid drip. Yuck. We had wee pads put down on our bed, but everything was still a mess by the morning. Laundry day!!! And yes, James did sleep with us during all of this. When he is sick or if there is a storm or if it is really cold he sleeps with us.
Thursday morning we all slept in until about 9am. James walked a little but he wasn’t walking well. His back end just kept collapsing. And he really wasn’t eating or drinking much. Poor guy. I was busy doing chores and laundry thankfully because Chris kept an eye on James all day and he was worried about him. If he was worried, I would be in a panic! He said the pain medicine was really strong and James seemed drunk. Around 5pm, I told Chris we should try to walk him. His swelling had gone down a little bit thankfully. Chris went to take a closer look as we were walking out the door and noticed a HOLE!!! A hole large enough for your pinky finger. Oh no. This is not good. This means the anal sac has ruptured. Since it was now after 5, we thought we had to go to the emergency vet. Thankfully the vet that saw James Wednesday morning said we could still come in but they would have to charge us an after hours emergency fee. We headed over to the vet and thankfully, the vet said this was all okay and nothing to be too worried about. He said the anal sac definitely ruptured and this was quite a large hole but James probably feels much better now that all of that pressure isn’t building up inside of him. It does mean his healing time is going to be much longer. The vet said it could take up to 2 months for this to fully heal. If James does need surgery to remove a tumor, the whole area has to be healed and the inflammation has to be down.
We will keep you posted on how everything goes. Once we have the results from the cells, then we will know if there is a tumor there in the anal sac. We are hoping it was just a really bad and swollen infection and not a tumor. Fingers crossed! We want little J to be back to his normal spunky Poodle self soon. Tonight when we ate dinner, Chris said he missed James sitting watching us eat (begging!).