We adopted a small poodle mix about four years ago. Soon after she came to us, we took her to a veterinary group practice. This group has been providing care ever since. The first time we visited, they checked her out and provided a rundown on puppy care. This was helpful at the time, but no one mentioned anything about anal glands. Four years later, our little dog has the unfortunate and painful experience of an anal-gland abscess. If we had been told about anal glands any time in the past four years, could we have prevented this abscess? The vet group said it was simply a detail they had forgotten about. But after four years, wouldn't there have been some evidence of an abscess forming and shouldn't that have been pointed out to us?
J.D.F., Clifton, Va Oct 10, 2010
Your veterinarian is correct, and the puppy-care advice could never have included specific information about anal-gland abscesses and their possible prevention. There is no forewarning or any standard routine to prevent this medical condition in dogs. Nor is this condition something to be included as part of any puppy-care program. Fortunately, this condition is not so common as dental problems, especially in smaller breeds, which should be mentioned in any puppy-care review. Getting pups used to having their teeth cleaned as a daily routine is good practice. Anal-gland problems may be prevented in some cases by providing a high-fiber diet or giving dogs some human-grade bone meal in their food (1 teaspoon per 30 pounds body weight). Chronic anal-gland and ear problems are sometimes associated with food allergy, and a change in diet can lead to recovery.
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