Resolving anal gland issues
Q My 11-month-old Cavalier has had continual anal gland problems. I was wondering if changing his diet to one that would perhaps produce more bulky stools would help him? any suggestions on this would be very welcome. Every time my vet emptys his glands there is a little in them.
A. Joe Inglis writes: Adding some fibre such as all bran to his diet may well help as this tends to bulk up the stools which helps the anal glands empty themselves as the stool passes through the anus. However, in some cases where the dog appears to be very irritated by the glands despite there not being a significant amount of material in the glands, measures like this won't help and the only option for long term resolution is to surgically remove the glands. The operation to do this is fairly routine for most vets, but there is a very slight risk of complications of which the most severe is faecal incontinence caused by damage to the anal sphincter itself. For this reason most vets would tend to view surgery as a last resort measure and try measures such as bran in the diet and regular expressing of the glands before considering the operation. As you dog is still very young, I would recommend trying a few different diets and the all bran approach before considering surgery as it may well be that these measures could help and also there is a chance he will grow out of the problem given time.
About Joe Inglis: Having qualified as a vet in 1996, Joe's appeared on a variety of TV programmes including Vet School, Vets in Practice and Blue Peter, where he was the on-screen vet. Currently a vet for BBC's The One Show, and for The Wright Stuff on Five, Joe is MORE TH>N's official pet expert.