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Polish Lowland Sheepdog Information




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Anal glands and Your PON


  The reason that squeamish PON owners need to read this article is because they are the folks most likely to avoid addressing  this issue, which can cause pain and suffering to if neglected.

As your book on canine health has stated, anal glands, are supposed to secrete fluid every time a dog has a bowel movement. However, things can go wrong, especially with dogs who have digestive/immune problems. The anal glands can fill up and get impacted or even infected. Obviously, no one enjoys dealing with the "business" end of their PON, but problems down there are pretty common and can be very uncomfortable. Not having anal glands ourselves, we can only imagine what it would be like when they get impacted―probably like sitting on a couple of marbles, only much more painful. Therefore, although unpleasant, owners need to cope with this.

Signs that your PONS anal glands are full include scooting across the floor, chewing at the " tail " area, and the extremely pungent odor of anal gland secretions, which can overflow out of the glands when they're too full.

The following e-mail recently arrived from a PON owner: "Wendy [not her real name] is suffering from anal gland problems―both have abscessed and one of them can't even be expressed. My vet advised surgery to remove them, but two other vets have said no, avoid surgery. I prefer no surgery, of course, and probably won't, but I'm afraid these abscesses will return. They are truly horrible."

The PON owner went on to explain, "The problem is that none of the vets have been able to express her left gland at all and can barely get anything from the right because it’s so thick. When the right does express, it is with great difficulty and pain for Wendy. They had to put her under out last week in order to apply enough pressure to express both glands. They then flushed them out and inserted antibiotic ointment. She’s going back in about a week to see if they can start expressing them on a regular basis―hoping that the infusion of that ointment will help break up the horribly thick gunk."

Some suggestions for keeping your PON's anal glands in top shape:

•Be sure that there is enough fiber in your PON's diet. I have been adding a substantial amounts of pumpkin and green beans to my own PON's diet  and have not had to deal with this problem at all.

• Choose whole, natural foods and avoid too high an amount of protein. Consider crafting a home cooked diet for best digestive health.

•Be sure that your PON gets lots of exercise which include daily walks.

•Make sure that your PON has ample opportunity to do his/her "business" in a non-stressful environment.

•Avoid making your PON  feel too crowded in his own home, and give him a room that he can retire to in order to "get away from it all." Your PON needs to relax.

•Have your PONS anal glands expressed periodically by a professional. If you're motivated, have your vet show you how to do it. It's not hard, and it's such a relief to be able to express the glands in calm, rather than having to wait for a vet appointment in an urgent situation. Yes, the stuff that comes out of them smells horrible, but it's probably no worse than changing diapers.

If you think that there is a problem, you can take the following steps at home, but if you don’t see substantial improvement within a day or so, then head for your vet's office as soon as possible:


•Make a warm herbal compress by pouring 2 cups of boiling water over 2 Tbsp. dried calendula herb and letting it steep until just warm. Dip a washcloth into this warm liquid and hold it up to the affected anal gland for a few minutes. Repeat several times, twice a day.

•Offer pumpkin and green beans in large amounts.

Good luck !