Join Date: Jun 2009
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You should never "routinely" express anal glands. Some groomers do this as a "service", and it is a very bad idea. If the glands are regularly expressed, they get less and less able to express the material naturally. So it becomes a perpetual cycle, where the glands get expressed so they lose tone, get over-full and need to be expressed again.
There ARE times when anal glands get over-full, and the cause needs to be rooted out and corrected if possible. If it is a poor diet that is not creating well-formed, solid stools, this can be the issue. But allergies can cause anal glands to become over-full too. If you CAN, resolve the allergy problem. If it's seasonal, environmental allergies, as happened to Kodi last summer, sometimes you can't. In that case, the glands MAY need to be emptied by a veterinarian. (NOT a groomer!) Impacted anal glands can abscess. That is not pretty, is very painful, and can be dangerous.
Kodi's anal glands have needed to be emptied twice, in 4 1/2 years, about 6 weeks apart last summer. Since then, my vet checks them when she sees him, but they have been fine, and they will not be expressed again until/unless he has a problem.
There are also a FEW dogs where the anal glands are mis-placed so that the dog cannot naturally empty them. (one of Missy's dogs... Cash, I think) has this problem. In this case, a vet does need to empty them regularly. But this is a medical problem, not something you routinely do with a healthy dog.
Karen, Kodi, Pixel and Panda
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