One Reason Why Your Dog Should Have a Yearly Physical Exam

Our cute furry friends can't really tell us what's wrong, but they can try to tell and show us. I normally take my nearly eight-year old dachshund in for a yearly checkup. This year, however, I decided to do that a little bit early.

Daisy had started acting kind of funny. I thought perhaps it was just from several changes going on at home. But then, I would find her hiding and crying, even when there was no storm going on. When she started tucking her tail, that's when I started to worry.

Off to the vet we went. At first, the vet thought the fur loss was her shedding her coat to prepare for upcoming hot weather. When clumps came off, the vet knew that definitely couldn't be it. After explaining to her all the changes I had noticed in my dog, the vet checked a couple of areas on the dog and noticed her anal sacs (glands) were swollen. Carefully scooping up the dog and taking her to the back, they did her blood work and did a closer inspection of her glands.

Within ten minutes, the dog was back in my arms, and actually wagging her tail some! Was this the same dog that thinks she's getting a death sentence whenever she goes to the vet? A showering of kisses from her proved it.

The vet explained that it's highly possible my dog had developed anal sac disease, which is actually fairly common in dogs of all ages. It can become quite painful for them, and if not watched closely, the glands can rupture, leading to surgery. However, there are signs you can watch for and steps that can be taken to help them.

Possible Causes 
The causes can be as simple as a change in diet and the nature of the secretions.

If you dog starts to "scoot" their bottom along, it can either be worms or anal sac disease. Constant licking of the rectal area is another sign. Have you noticed your dog not wanting to lift their tail or having constipation? Also, has then been any blood draining from the area? All of these are signs of anal sac disease.

What You Can Do 
There are several ways to help with the problem. Once a month the glands can be drained (also known as rectal palpation) to empty the sacs. You can actually do this yourself or have the vet do it. If the area has become infected, the area needs to be lanced. Your dog can also be given antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medication. The final ultimatum is surgical removal of the anal sacs to prevent any more cases.

The good news is anal sac disease can be treated. Once my dog's blood work comes back, I can know for sure if there are any other issues going on. With so many things our pets can get over the years, I suggest to make sure your dog gets a yearly checkup. After all, they are one of the best friends you'll ever have!

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