One more question: My friend has a year old spayed female Lakeland terrier who has problems with its anal glands. I guess they are bothering the dog a lot. Her vet has suggested that she have surgery to have them removed. She doesn’t want to do this because she has heard horror stories about this procedure. My friend ends up taking the dog in to have the glands cleaned…usually they have to be treated with an antibiotic. Are there any other solutions to this problem? Should she have this done to her dog? Can the dog become incontinent? Any other drawbacks?
What is the dog’s diet? Does she have formed, or loose stools? It is important to understand that even normal anal glands can get filled up frequently. Under normal circumstances, the gland’s contents are emptied into the stool during a bowel movement. If the stool is loose, or the dog is overweight, or inactive, this normal emptying may not occur. If the glands are emptied artificially frequently, this can actually make the problem worse since her body is not performing its normal functions. When I am presented with a patient who is having the anal glands manually emptied frequently, my best advise is to wait, and let them empty on their own. If they don’t and the dog is very uncomfortable,or if they are starting to abscess, then obviously I empty and treat, but my next step is to add fiber to the dog’s food. This will often help the anals empty on their own. The risk of surgery involves the possibility of fecal incontinence post-operatively, and personally I wouldn’t want to take the risk in such a young dog unless there was no other choice.