my puppy is sick in the butt!
March 14, 2011 6:10 PM   Subscribe

Help! My dog is having some issues . . . around her butt. Took her to the vet last week, and she seemed to be improving, but today it's getting worse. Help me help her? Kinda gross details inside, beware.

Last wednesday I woke up to find my dog licking her butt and shaking in a creepy way, and upon inspecting her butt, it was oozing bloody goo. Took her to the vet immediately and he told me she had a ruptured anal gland. He fixed it, kinda- not sure exactly what he was doing back there as I was comforting her face while he did it, but I think he probably squeezed it out and cleaned it up. He gave her a couple shots, and gave me some liquid antibiotic as well as some stuff to spray in her butt. Fun!

I've been giving her antibiotics and butt spray twice a day since then, as directed. She seemed to be doing alright for the first few days but tonight it is looking bad again. I don't know if this happened on its own, or if she's been messing with it when I'm not here. But its all swollen, shiny and red, to the point where I'm afraid it may rupture again. Her skin is also pink so I am assuming she has a fever. She also hasn't eaten her food from today and I'm starting to get a little worried, but thought I'd run it by the good pet owners of Metafilter before I experience complete meltdown and try to find an emergency vet. She does seem pretty miserable but I don't know if this is an emergency. (My plan is to call the vet first thing in the AM, though.) I like her vet, plus he already knows what's going on with her, so I think that would be preferable. But if you think I ought to take her somewhere tonight, suggestions in the Chicago area are welcome.

Okay. So my plan for the evening is to keep cleaning it (gently), giving her butt spray, and giving her oral antibiotics. I will try to get her to eat something- probably rice (the vet's suggestion from when she was there before and wouldn't eat.) I also got her little doggy diapers which I think I ought to put on to help keep it clean just in case.
-If I keep the area clean and covered up, and it starts oozing on its own, will she be ok? Like if I just keep (gently) cleaning it?
-What about her fever? Is there anything I can/ should give her?
-How can I tell if this is becoming too serious for me to handle on my own? (I have a tendency to totally freak out about her well-being and overreact, so it's hard for me to tell.)
-Uhh. Any other advice from those of you who have dealt with this?

Thanks guys. Feel free to ask for any pertinent details I may have forgotten.
posted by GastrocNemesis to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There are plenty of instructions on the web on how to express dog's anal glands. I've tried once or twice with my dog, but with little luck. You can try that and see if you can relieve the pressure a bit. Also, you can try to take her temperature to get a since of how much fever she has. But, if it's just gotten bad tonight, and she's only not eaten today (but has drank some water), I'd be tempted to put it off till the morning. However, I am not a vet, vet tech, or anything else really useful (just a fellow dog owner).
posted by katers890 at 6:17 PM on March 14, 2011

I think that it's not just swollen, but actually infected, so I'm afraid if I try to express it now I would potentially make things worse by causing it to rupture painfully and bleed all over. I was thinking that in this case I'd try to leave it to the vet, if possible.
posted by GastrocNemesis at 6:27 PM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Please don't try to express that anal gland yourself. It's an open wound at this point, messing with it is not a good idea.
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 6:48 PM on March 14, 2011 [7 favorites]

I'm gonna bet she'll be OK till the AM. If you really feel like you NEED to feed her something, offer her groundbeef cooked with rice. Boiled ground beef w/ boiled or instant rice. Just a cup or so total, unless she's huge or tiny.

But a night w/o food isn't a big deal, and as long as she's just lethargic and lazy but not glazed-eyes, seizing, foaming, etc---the fever probably isn't insanely out of control. Dogs release heat through panting and through the pads of their feet, if she's abnormally pant-y or her pads are super hot, consider helping her out by giving her a nice cool paw-dip in some cool water.

She'll probably wind up wearing a cone, and this time there will probably be some mild sedation and a scalpel involved in the cleanup, for which you will probably not be present. It's probably a spot late for you to go grab a cone tonight for her head, but do what you can to keep her out of it. I wouldn't worry about her really causing lasting harm, more that she'll just make it take longer to heal and look a lot worse.

Also, give her a kiss on her nose for me and tell her she's a good dog.
posted by TomMelee at 7:12 PM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Is there any way you can take her temperature? (i.e., do you have another dog-friendly human with you?) It sounds like the antibiotic might not be working; the fever, as a symptom of the overall infection, is what I'd watch. I'd guess that normal dog temperature would depend on the breed/size of the dog (it varies considerably for cats, even), and that "vet now" temperature would likewise vary; I'd suggest looking it up for your dog.

You might be able to just phone an emergency vet and get their opinion on, in general, how hot is too hot for a dog of a specific breed and size with a known infection. As here, they can be super careful not to give direct advice about your specific situation without actually seeing the dog, but sometimes you can, if you are clear with them that you understand they are not giving you advice about your dog, get a general idea of a guideline.
posted by amtho at 7:25 PM on March 14, 2011

I agree with badgermushroomSNAKE, please don't mess with your dog's butt. Let the vet do it. I agree that taking her temp and calling an emergency vet would be good. What kind of dog is it (small, large?)

I would bear in mind, especially if you have a small dog, that she may very well need to have her anal glands removed. Which is soft-tissue surgery. Which is expensive. But it would take care of the problem.
posted by bolognius maximus at 7:38 PM on March 14, 2011

My Manchester terrier Hot-dog, who I've written about in the past, had anal gland problems. MC Lo-Carb! is right, you will soon have Radar Dog. When the anal glands get infected it is beyond what you can deal with easily. When Hot-dog had this she needed a couple visits to the vet to take care of it.

However, it is not that hard to learn to express a healthy dog's anal glands and even though it is both gross and a not-happy issue, it is much better than dealing with repetitive anal gland infections.

Be warned that removing the anal glands carries with it the risk of fecal incontinence and that not only is a PITA, the dog is embarrassed. Try to get your dog to accept expressing the anal glands as a nuisance which passes, and is followed by a treat and a Frisbee session.
posted by jet_silver at 8:36 PM on March 14, 2011

she is small (14 lbs) but i've had her for 4 years and this is the first time her glands have ever been a problem whatsoever. so i wonder whether it's just an isolated incident that maybe won't happen again. when i took her in last week, i asked the vet whether i had made a mistake in not having tried to express her glands before, and he said no- some dogs need it a lot, some occasionally, some never, it just varies. as far as we can tell, this was just random. not that i spend tons of time looking at her butt, but i didn't notice anything was amiss until she was licking it and it was bleed-y.

anyway, i did get her to eat some food (rice mixed with egg and her dog food) and i guess that finally made her thirsty enough to drink a bunch of water. so, she's fed and watered and acting reasonably normal. i don't own a thermometer (i know, i know) but since i don't know what her baseline temperature is anyway, i don't think it would matter. i'm just going to keep an eye on her overall behavior and temperament. she's kind of a hot mess at the moment but acting more or less normal, with the exception of being rather sad-looking.

i had to study anyway, so it's a good excuse for me to stay up late . . . studying while also keeping an eye on her. poor thing- the thought of her in a cone totally kills me (both in the sad way and the funny way!)
posted by GastrocNemesis at 8:43 PM on March 14, 2011

GastrocNemesis, please let us know how your pup is doing today!
posted by msali at 1:36 PM on March 15, 2011

Thanks for asking, msali. She's okay but it doesn't seem to be over yet. Every time it starts to look okay, the next day it's swollen and gross again. I think the night I posted this question, it ruptured again overnight, because it wasn't swollen anymore. Now I think she's been messing with it because there's still a hole there where it ruptured originally and it looks like it's getting worse instead of healing. I still suspect she's messing with it when I'm not around. So right now I think I'm probably gonna take her back to the vet and see if they think she needs a stitch or two to help it heal. If nothing else she probably ought to get a cone. :-(
posted by GastrocNemesis at 11:21 AM on March 21, 2011

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