Linda Arndt ~ Canine Nutritional Consultant

Anal Gland and Tonsillitis

The Relationship Between Tonsillitis and Anal Glands

The best way to illustrate this relationship is to tell you my own personal experience with my 4 year old male fawn Great Dane, Rafe.

Rafe was not always a big eater, unlike most of my dogs that are willing to eat until the drop. In fact, Rafe has always self regulated his weight by backing off on his food consumption every third day. But when he would go longer than a day without wantint to eat or picking out the soft meat pieces, when there were no other signs of illness, this really got my attention.

Off we went to the vet where it was determined that Rafe had a case of tonsillitis. Naturally we went on antibiotics (and probiotics were doubled), and in a couple of days he was back to his old self. This had happened 3 times in 4 years, with no real serious case of tonsillitis, just the annoying reoccurrence of it that kept me wondering what is going on with this dog.

Like most challenges in raising dogs, I always try to look for some kind of pattern of behavior or pattern of reoccurrence when something is going on and therefore I keep good records when trying to solve a problem. When I really started to track Rafe's two reoccurring problems, I realized that a few weeks before the tonsils would flare up, there would be a bout of him licking his" behind" with great fervor and frequency…plus an occasional yucky "ode de par'fume" skunky odor that came wafting across the room. Any one that has been throught his experience and is reading this, knows exactly what I mean and knows the next step is to get to the vet for a good "spring cleaning".

Finally I realized the two issues were related. There was a pattern of anal glands flaring up, excessive licking, then the tonsils would flare up and become infected, then Rafe goes off his feed because he has a sore throat. I knew I had to get a handle on this problem and stop the cycle, because I would never put another dog through anal gland surgery again! That in itself is a whole other story and the majority of times can and should be avoided. Keep in mind you can handle this anal glad and tonsil issue with an adjustment in diet and a simple little external treatment.

Stopping the Cycle - External Management

There is a time and a place for antibiotics and tonsillitis is one of them. As much as I don't like to use antibiotics some times it is necessary. As long as I use probiotics to reestablish the environment of the gut with beneficial bacteria, there is no worry of systemic yeast infections or lowering the immune function.

This is how we manage the infected anal glands - instead of treating systemically with an antibiotic, we treat with an antibiotic at the point of entry, so to speak, the anal gland ducts. Here is where owning a giant breed comes in handy because you can actually see them very clearly (if you so included to look for them), smaller breeds are easier to "express" but more difficult to locate the ducts for antibiotic infusion.

On either side of the anal opening are tiny ducts, like tear ducts. Pretend for a moment that the anal opening on the dog is the face of a clock and the ducts are located at about 5:00 and 7:00 on the dog. You have to roll the anal opening downward to see these ducts. (OK, so I think visuals are important in making my point).

Now, have the vet get in there and empty them out and this needs to be done by inserting a rubber gloved finger in the dog and get behind the anal sack and give it a good squeeze. "Youch" - the dog will not like this one bit. This can not be donel by simply trying to squeeze from the outside, especially if there is an infection or they are impacted.

If you have not had this lovely experience before, let me warn you, keep your self covered and have plenty of paper towels and Clorox wipes handy---- a nice can of air freshener would not hurt either. Might I also suggest not wearing your best clothes during this process. It is not at all unusual to drain 1/2 - 1 cup of infection and fluid off one gland (Great Dane) if they are really infected or impacted. (this is not a job for sissies, that's for sure). I always try to tip my vet after this procedure because he has earned his money!

After the vet empties the sack, then infuse them with antibiotic using a syringe (approximately 10 CC - the kind with no needle, but a long plastic curved tip). Insert the antibiotic filled syringe into the ducts and fill them with Panalog or Animax (nystatin-neomycin sulfate-thiostrepton-triamcionlone acetonide) antibiotic ointment.

For really severe problems do this once a week for 3 weeks, then you can go to a couple of times per month. In time you can go down to one trip per month and eventually every other month or longer. Twice in my dog career, I have been able to correct this problem by filling them with antibiotic and gradually reducing down the trips to the vets, at the same time altering the diet just a bit with added fiber, and in time it corrects itself.

This is a safe semi-painless way to handle it without that terribly painful anal gland removal surgery, which is a very difficult for the dogs! It is my experience antibiotics taken internally will NOT take care of this problem, you have to infuse the anal duct with antibiotic. Try this first method first because it has a VERY high rate of success.

Dietary Management

If you are not already on the Blackwatch Feed Program, I highly recommend you get on one of them and select a program that fits your dog's particular needs. If you have a dog with anal gland issues it is important that in addition to this program, you need to add an anal gland support product to your AM and PM meals. I like a terrific product called POOPITY DOO to the dogs diet. When you add this high fiber blend it is also very important to increase the water on your dogs food so the fiber will not make the dog constipated. The way this works is that it is added fiber to the food which will make the stool bulkier and help express the anal glands when the dog defecates.

Example: for an adult Great Dane, make sure they get 1/3 cup of water or broth (a little canned meat is good too for variety) on each meal along with the dosage of POOPITY DOO, you will find the dosage on the bottle.

Infusing with antibiotic and a slight change in diet will help prevent the reoccurrence of anal gland problems and reoccurring tonsillitis in our dog.This is a much better way of handling these interrelated health concerns than having to go through costly, painful and risky anesthesia/surgery. At least it is well worth the try.

Another Story:

Jone Mizer, from Steinlove Setters- England wrote me to tell me of her experience with anal glands. This is certainly a natural and safe way to try and correct the problem.

" Years ago my veterinarian told me that one of his clients who owned a Rottweiler that had
constantly impacted anal glands had started to give her dog three dried plums (pitted prunes) on his food daily. Almost from the time that this client tried this, her dog never again required anal gland emptying.

I started giving two of my English setters, whose anal glands had to be emptied frequently, three dried pitted prunes once a week; and I have never had to empty anal glands on these dogs since then. (Not for more than 10 years in the case of the older dog.) I don't know why this works, but it does. I wanted to pass this information on to you. I hope that this will help others because it is a lot easier to scatter a few prunes on food than to physically empty anal glands. Friends who have tried this with their dogs have experienced the same happy results."

Note: if a dog has a systemic yeast infection (itchy skin, shedding, reoccurring bladder and ear infections etc.) I would not add prunes to a diet due to the added sugar content. Yeast thrives off sugar so until the yeast issues were resolve, I would not add even natural fruit sugars to a diet, but instead increase the fiber content of the diet using a some oat bran or oat beta glucan from the health food store.

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