Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why Is My Dog Scooting?!?

I've met more pet owners than not, who are baffled by seeing their dog (or cat) scoot their little behinds along the ground.  Often, at first, we assume we have some unsightly "dingleberries" who have not relinquished their hold on our precious pet's hairs around their bottoms.  More often than not, we now become educated about the reality of anal glands!  These glands are at 4 and 8 o'clock around your friend's.. well, shoot.

I have noticed, with pet grooming becoming more common, that owners are made aware, as most groomers list that they are charging you to "express the anal glands".  I grew up in the early 80's..   we knew my dog had a bottom.. but, that was about it.  I can't even remember the luxury of amazing anti-parasite meds; my poor dog did his best to fend of unwanted critters with his flea collar and that was about it.
For many owners, they may be fortunate to never have to know, or care, about their dogs anal glands.  For others, it can become a frustrating challenge.  For the average owner, it may come up once or twice.. or never.  Anal glands are there to mark your animal's scent on their feces as it's being expelled.  It aids them in marking their territory, and in theory, a normal defecating dog's glands will be expressed with every potty break and it might not become an issue.  For others, the glands are not expressed, and therefore we need to do it ourselves (and by ourselves, I mean, we pay someone else to do it!)

It's imperative the material in the glands finds it's exit.  If normal dog "time" isn't doing it, we find our friends scooting their butts across the floor.  It's irritating to them, and if it goes unchecked, it can become impacted and infected.

If you see your buddy scooting, don't brush it off.  It doesn't have to figure itself out; a trip to your vet or your groomer may be all you need.  Severe reoccurances of impaction can sometimes mean surgery.  Understand however, that most groomers do what we call an "external" expression.  They press on the exterior of the location and some contents are expelled.  For a proper expression, see your veterinarian where a veterinary technician will happily do it the "right" way, which is to palpate your pet internally and ensure all the material is removed.  Unless there is an infection or impaction, this shouldn't hurt. And on top of it, you make your vet tech's day.. ;)

It's not common in cats, but one of my cats needed this done, so don't misread their signals either.  And of course my cat, being a cat, screamed bloody murder while they attempted to do it.  They gave him a light sedative to ease his emotional state during the procedure, but he was fine. 

During your routine veterinary visit, your doc will check that region to ensure they don't feel a build up, but you can always ask them too.  Most vets will express the glands for free, or for *almost* free.
The "bottom" line (ha ha) is that don't let it go.  If you see your buddy scooting, help them out!  A quick trip to the vet, for little or no money, should make it all right again!


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