***If you are grossed out by medical or anything body fluid related you might want to skip this post. I really just want to help other Poodle or dog owners that have issues with anal glands like we do with James.***
With the Coronavirus pandemic, James hasn’t been to the groomer. So his anal glands haven’t been emptied since January. I called a few vets to see if they could take James for a quick anal gland expression appointment. But the ones I tried all said they were only taking emergency appointments.
Well, it turned into an emergency. I noticed James was sniffing around his backside (usually a sign that something is bothering him) and when I looked, I saw a bulge on his right side. I panicked and called the vet. Sure enough, it was an infection. Last year, the infection was the size of a baseball. This year, she was guessing about the size of an egg. So it was big, but not as big. The vet cleaned James out and sent us home with antibiotics (Enrofloxacin) and prednisone. Argh, prednisone. It took SO long to wean off it last year! But this wasn’t a high dose.
We did add in some natural remedies I wanted to talk about.
One thing we used was Boiron Silicea Homeopathy pills. I found it at Whole Foods. Here is a great link about using Silicea with pets on the Home Cures 4 Pets website.
Silicea has been called the “homeopathic surgical knife.” It has a remarkable power to push splinters and foreign bodies (foxtails, etc.) to the surface. Silicea is also used for boils and abscesses. It helps them ripen and come to a head and then discharge the pus (this is called suppuration), it is also effective for blocked tear ducts, blocked salivary glands and styes.https://www.homecures4pets.com/offsiteLearningCenter/Materia_Medica/Materia_Medica/Silicea_in_Veterinary_Homeopathy.php
CAUTION: Since one of the effects of Silica is to promote expulsion of foreign matter from the body, this remedy shouldn’t be used for long periods in any animal with implanted material. Silica is a powerful remedy, capable of encouraging the body to push foreign materials out. As such, it may cause the expulsion of metal screws, wires, bone plates or other orthopedic implants, as well as microchips. If in doubt as to whether you should use the remedy you should seek professional guidance.https://www.homecures4pets.com/offsiteLearningCenter/Materia_Medica/Materia_Medica/Silicea_in_Veterinary_Homeopathy.php
With homeopathy, you don’t handle the pills. You dispense them into the lid and put them under your tongue. With James, I pulled out his cheek and held them in place for a minute or so. We gave James 2 pills every 6 hours.
We also used Smile’s Prid Homeopathic Drawing Salve. I found it at CVS. It has arnica (for pain) and calendula (for inflammation and antibacterial). I put some of this ointment on James’ swollen anal gland area. And after 30 minutes or so, I would get a facecloth and run it under warm water. I wrung it out and then I would go over and hold the warm wet facecloth on J’s anus area for about 5 minutes. I then put on more ointment. I also have Hibiclens hand soap that I was thankful to find at CVS during a germ pandemic. I washed the facecloth several times with the Hibiclens and then hung it up to dry. I was doing this every 8 hours or so. And I used a new facecloth just for this and it will be thrown away when this is cleared.
I think using these two items above really made a big difference in getting the anal sac to rupture. I know you might not want this to happen. But we wanted it to rupture instead of get worse if anything. I only used these two items for 24 hours when the anal sac did rupture.
J’s anal gland ruptured early one morning and I was able to catch it right away. I cleaned up the mess with the same warm washcloth several times going back and forth to the sink and using Hibiclens. And in between each wash I would go back to holding the warm wet cloth on James to clean him up and keep drawing out the infection. I would then put on Gentamicin ointment (antibiotic ointment) we got from the vet. And on the next warm washcloth/cleaning I would use the Smile’s Prid drawing salve. And after the first 24 hours, I would also use the Calendula ointment every third time. I am thankful the mess this year wasn’t bad. Last year was awful. But J’s infection was really, really bad last year.
Within a few days, James wasn’t leaking at all and he was staying clean despite the hole from the rupture.
This is when I started using psyllium husk with James. I’ve read that it helps in dogs with anal gland problems. I put one tablespoon in his bowl and I add a little bit of chicken broth and let it turn into a gel. I then add J’s regular dehydrated food (Stella and Chewy’s patties) and add water from the kettle. I let that soak for about 4-5 minutes. I then add kibble. And James loves it! And if you want TMI (we are already talking about butts and anal glands at this point), James has very nice firm bowel movements now and he hasn’t had diarrhea since we started this psyllium fiber!
I’ve also been using Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra Probiotic Formula with James. He gets one every morning on an empty stomach with a little coconut oil to help it slide down. The Garden of Life Primal Defense is the only probiotic I found in stores (I bought the first one at Sprouts) that had Saccharomyces boulardii included.
Saccharomyces boulardii is a novel yeast probiotic that is safely administered to dogs and cats and has the potential to treat and prevent antibiotic associated diarrhea, Clostridium difficile diarrhea, non-specific diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease for use in dogs and cats.https://www.fullbuckethealth.com/pages/saccharomyces-boulardii-probiotic-whitepaper-pets
I now order the Garden of Life Probiotics from Swanson online but if I am in a pinch I know I can find it at Sprouts or at Whole Foods. I take one every morning, too!
Hopefully this blog post was helpful if you found us by searching about anal gland remedies in dogs. James is our first dog with these issues and it stinks (literally!). I’ve read that canned pumpkin helps (vs psyllium fiber) but James hates pumpkin. Even if I boil chicken, shred it, and add a tiny spoonful of pumpkin, James will not eat it.