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Infected anal gland(s)

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Hoping for some advice, anecdotes, thoughts, etc. before I see the vet today --

 

Torque (9.5 years old) is currently suffering from what appears to be recalcitrant anal glands. From memory, I brought him to the vet around Thanksgiving for constant butt licking (no butt scooting). She expressed his glands and the right one appeared to be infected (slightly pink exudate). Tx was one week of Clavamox. One week after the Clavamox ended, another vet (chiro vet) expressed his glands and they were clear. About 3 weeks after that, I expressed them, and they were clear. Another 2 weeks passed, more licking and the right gland was quite bloody when expressed. So the vet thought a 2 week tx of Clavamox should help to really knock the infection out. The last dose of Clavamox was on Saturday. Today, I expressed the right gland (because he was aggressively licking), and it was quite bloody again. So off to the vet we go.

 

I don't understand why we can't clear up this infection. Thanks in advance for any suggestions, amateur diagnosis, anecdotes, etc.

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I would have a couple of questions for the vet. Is this really an infection or could it be something else? Has the exudate been examined under a microscope with appropriate staining to look for bacteria and identify what the infection might be, if it is indeed an infection? What other issues could it possibly be, and how would one diagnose what it might be in the case it's not a simple infection?

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Excellent questions Sue. I was also wondering if it is an infection ( but the issue cleared up for about 6 weeks after the first round of Clavamox which is suggestive of an infection). And from issues with previous animals, my understanding is that Clavamox is a 'stronger'antibiotic - for lack of a better term - and is usually prescribed for E. coli infections, and since we are dealing with anal glands, there's a high probability of E. coli. Still, I wouldn't want to presume anything and your thoughts remind me not to assume anything and to keep digging are appreciated. Thanks.

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Excellent questions Sue. I was also wondering if it is an infection ( but the issue cleared up for about 6 weeks after the first round of Clavamox which is suggestive of an infection). And from issues with previous animals, my understanding is that Clavamox is a 'stronger'antibiotic - for lack of a better term - and is usually prescribed for E. coli infections, and since we are dealing with anal glands, there's a high probability of E. coli. Still, I wouldn't want to presume anything and your thoughts remind me not to assume anything and to keep digging are appreciated. Thanks.

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My veterinarian gave me Synotic with Enrofloxacin (a topical steroid with antibiotic) for a Chihuahua's abscessed anal gland. The dog had to wear an Elizabethan collar since the meds were topical, but the solution cleared up his issue fairly quickly. [ETA] Since your dog's gland hasn't 'blown', this may not be be feasible.

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Pupdate:

 

Vet expressed very bloody material from both anal glands yesterday - and very, very smelly. And you wonder why I say that it was smelly? :) Prior to yesterday, the material didn't smell that bad (perhaps I have been around farm animals too much and have become used to nasty smells???). Obviously I have heard that they smell to high heaven, but that was not the case with my wonderful dog. LOL. But yesterday, well, yeah........ I now know what they can smell like. :blink:

 

terrecar - glad to hear that enrofloxacin cleared up an abscessed anal gland. My vet prescribed an 10 day course of oral enrofloxacin (68 mg tabs, 2 tabs once every 24 hours). Now I have high hopes that this stronger and broader spectrum antibiotic will clear the infection.

 

Sue - As far as culturing, that area would have too many different bacteria to really isolate the culprit. My vet is still of the opinion that it is an infection, but resistant to Clavamox. [she treated it like "OK, the Clavamox didn't work, I've seen that before, so the next step is ....] At this point, I feel that is a logical assumption.

 

I have a follow-up appointment in 9 days.

 

And just FYI: If the oral enrofloxacin doesn't work, the next step is to 'pack' the anal glands with a 'gel' containing an antibiotic and a steroid. This will require light sedation in order to relax the anal muscles so she can squirt (how is that for a medical term?) the gel into the anal glands [through the ducts] where it should work for about 2 weeks. And if that doesn't work, step 4 is removal of said glands.

 

Soooo hoping that the oral enrofloxacin will work. :)

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Here's hoping for a great resolution to this icky, nasty problem!

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My vet (and boss) has said in the past that in general antibiotics don't get into anal glands very well so it can be difficult to clear up infections. When we get dogs with infected ones we sedate and flush the glands out, then put them on a month of baytril (enrofloxacin). Then recheck the glands a few days after the antibiotics end for any signs of infection (we do a swab and look for neutrophils and a high number of 1 type of bacteria) and extend antibiotics if needed. That being said there are some dogs who have recurrent ones which we do recommend removal of the glands. The one vet I work for removes a fair number of them and so far we have not had any patients with any lasting complications (fecal incontinence is a possible complication).

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An update in response to BCjetta's post:

It appears that neither the Clavamox nor the Enrofloxacin cleared up the issue. Each time, I could see a decrease in licking for the first 2 days, then by day 5 or 6, the licking returned quite frequently. The vet suggested a recheck at day 10 of the Enrofloxacin treatment, but we are going in tomorrow - day 7 - due to continued licking and still seeing a bloody discharge when expressed. Because the Enrofloxacin doesn't seem to be working, I was going to ask my vet if the glands were impermeable to circulating antibodies. Thanks for your response.

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My dear Samantha had a series of bladder infections the last year of her life. My vet finally put her on Tylan (sp) and that cleared it up. It wasn't cheap, and I don't know if it's appropriate for your dog, but it might be worth asking the vet about.

 

Good luck,

 

Ruth and Gibbs

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