Hi new member - serious ongoing anal gland infection

Hi I have a 16 1/2 yr old border terrier, she has always had to have her glands expressed around every six months for as long as I can remember. She has been fed burns food nearly all her life, as I thought it was a good quality food for her, and tbh she’s doing well for her age. I had to change her food to home cooked, as she had to have dental work , she had an awful build up of plaque (my fault for not brushing her teeth, and from years of eating dry kibble), and she was struggling with the burns food, i attempted raw, but she wouldn’t entertain it. To try cut a long story a bit shorter, I researched and continue to do so for home cooked food, I also have a 14 yr old Lakeland x border and a rescue lurcher around 10 yr old. Apart from being constantly exhausted from cooking and washing dishes, I thought I was doing ok, although I have to admit, I worry about getting it all right , and the three of them seem to show sensitivities to different things. I’m happy to continue to cook for them, I wonder if any one else is successfully home cooking, or if anyone can recommend a good book or guide I start to drown on the internet sometimes. Back to the anal glands, visited vet today, and glands had to be expressed again as were full and infected, this is only 10 days after being emptied and after finishing a her fourth course of antibiotics in same amount of months. Vet suggested booking her in once a week to have them expressed and put her on a 10 day course of antibiotics. I’m very stressed and worried about my old girl, one reason is it’s very uncomfortable and stressful for her at vet, and I realise it’s not particularly good for them to have glands expressed often, and secondly they have given same antibiotics she had last four times. Her urine sample was diluted, indicating her kidneys could be struggling and her blood test was on high side,of normal. Dietary advice is to reduce protein in her diet and add bran to her food. If this doesn’t clear the infection up, vet considering having her anethatised and her glands flushed, which is risky at her age. She is a very stressful little worrier, I gave her a weeks course of lindbell digestive plus pro biotics after her last lot of antibiotics, and it really seemed to help her she was more relaxed and happier in herself, but now she’s turning her nose up if I try to add it to her food. She’s still a very active little dog and I was hoping she be around for a good few more years, so any help will be very much appreciated. X

Hello and welcome to the forum. There is a section especially for home cooked food so hopefully you may find something helpful here

I am sorry you are having so many issues with the anal glands. It sounds like you dog is generally doing very well for her years. I am not sure what to suggest for her general diet but my dog enjoys some natural yogurt so I give her a little often to help with digestive health. Does your dog normally produce firm stools. I am not an expert but if they are generally firm, then you are probably getting her diet right.

There is also thisthread which may be useful. Good luck.

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Hi thanks I just found the section on home cooked food once I posted, so,I’ll have a read through today. She does like yogurt so that’s a good addition to put in her diet. Her stools are normally firm and quite good, they were a little loose and not very bulky yesterday, but good this morning. I made them all an omelette with wilted spinach for fibre and a little grated cheese which she normally goes mad for, but she picked through it and spit most of spinach out, I picked most of spinach out but she was suspicious by then(Antibiotics were in too), so I heated a small cup of chicken bone broth up and poured that over, again something she normally laps up and she only managed a few mouthfuls. I’m concerned now she is getting sick of antibiotics now, which will add to her infection problem. I’ll see how she gets on during the day, she’s happy in herself and done her usual morning routine of roly poly on both settees kicking all the cushions and throws off, which is always a good start to the day.x

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Anal glands can be a problem in some dogs. A while I ago I read that some of this may be due to anatomy. My old girl started with blocked anal glands a couple of years ago and like your dog, required fairly frequent visits to the vet and more than one course of antibiotics. She was much worse when on raw, presumably because the stools were smaller and therefore not compressing the glands enough.

Since the beginning of this year she has been OK. I don’t know why except that I put her back on cold pressed food. It may be coincidence but the improvement did coincide with the change in diet so maybe not. In my dogs this produces a very firm but decent size stool. Because of this, I believe the anal glands are being compressed naturally.

Like you, I have heard that bran is useful but in my experience it is firmness of stool that you want. Bulk with associate softness doesn’t really do it for my old girl. However, it is worth trying. Mine are not lactose intolerant so like you, I give them natural yoghurt but they have it each evening before bed.

I shall have a look at cold pressed food, it’s first time Iv heard of it. I’m not overly keen on bran, i think the vet could of given me better examples of adding more fibre to her diet, but never mind. I had a look at the American website, that was mentioned on the home cooked food page, and chia seeds look like an excellent source of fibre. I like the idea that they provide a good amount of fibre without having to add so much bulk to her diet, she’s quite a dinky border, so I don’t want to overfill her tummy. They advised best way to feed to,dogs is to soak the seeds for 48 hours and it forms a jelly like substance, which I’m busy doing now, it reminds me of when I used to soak whole linseed for my horse years ago before you could buy it milled. I also agree that I don’t just want to bulk her stools up, which is what bran will do. Her stools have been good tonight when I took her out for her evening potter, and she had small portion of natural yogurt before bed, my other two also enjoyed this, my Lakeland cross, was vomiting every morning a while back, I found out it can be just their stomach being empty for too long, so they now they all have a light late snack and it solved the problem of vomiting. Iv got appointment next tues at vet for glands to be expressed and to see if any improvement, I shall update on how she gets on x

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I hadn’t heard of Chia seeds. With regards to cold pressed food, there is a thread on it here. I honestly can’t say if it would help your Border Terrier. As I said, the fact that my little terrier’s anal glands have been OK might be pure coincidence. There are not many of these products around. The two UK companies are Gentle and Guru.

My little Schnauzer loves Weetabix. When he was a pup I used to give him a Weetabix on a Sunday with some milk. He lapped it up but then I was worried if I should/shouldn’t be giving him cows milk or not??

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When I had a litter of pups I used to give Weetabix and they lapped it up. Never did them any harm AFAIK. I suppose that if a dog is lactose intolerant then it would be best to mix it with water. I gave goats milk to the last litter, and to the mum. They all did well on it.

Amongst his many current health problems our spaniel has frequent anal gland problems requiring vet visits to empty. I agree it’s not a pleasant experience for owner or dog!

We were told that a diet too high in protein was partly to blame because it made the stools softer than they should be - it’s hard stools which trigger the glands to excrete I believe.

Of course, a lower protein diet comes with problems of its own, but we found that regular bones helped enormously - as the tiny bits of bone the dog manages to chew off pass through its system, they make the stools a bit firmer and thereby trigger the glands “on the way through.”

Good luck!

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I haven’t heard of the high protein link but I recall that one of my dogs had anal gland problems that seemed to start when I gave her a raw diet. This was a dog that was getting on in years and had never had this problem. The stools were hard but with insufficient bulk and this is why I feel (but don’t know for sure) that this was the cause. Since being on her current food, which has good quality fibre she had been alright.

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I thought anal gland problems were caused when the stools aren’t sufficiently firm enough to naturally express them? I’ve heard of the bran and weetabix options which seem to help. My lot have raw and some home cooked food, and I’ve not had any problems (eldest is 11 1/2).

I cook either with a potato/rice base, a mixture of vegetables and meat. I get the meat from the local butchers as off cuts, and it’s ideal for them, along with some heart and offal. I also add in things like garlic, turmeric, fenugreek, herbs etc, all for different health benefits and to help deter parasites naturally.

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