Posts Tagged ‘rescue’

Pugs and Anal Glands

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Originally Written for Pug Partners of Nebraska – Please visit their website to find out how you can help Pugs!

All dogs and cats have anal glands. They are small (peanut to grape-sized) sacs near their bottoms, at about 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock, if their butts were clocks.

The purpose of anal glands is probably to mark territory. The anal glands secrete a small amount of thick liquid when an animal defecates.  If the opening of the anal glands always stays patent and the glands empty completely when the animal defecates, and the anal glands never become infected, you may never notice anal glands at all.

Pugs have a conformation that sometimes lends itself to incomplete expression of the anal glands, and thus they are more prone to anal gland problems than some other dogs.

When the anal glands do not empty completely, they can become enlarged.   At this point, manual expression completely treats the problem.  If this is not done, the glands can become uncomfortable. At this stage, you may notice your pet licking or scooting. Manual expression is still completely curative.

If the glands are not expressed, they may become infected. At this point, manual expression is still helpful, but the glands may need to be flushed, and your Pug may need antibiotics. And finally, chronically infected anal glands may rupture. This is a painful condition that needs to be treated right away. In severe or very painful cases, sedation or anesthesia may be needed to treat the gland completely.

In some cases, anal glands may be surgically removed.  It may be necessary to consult a surgical specialist. When the entire gland is removed, obviously, no further trouble will be had with anal glands.  However, possible complications of surgery include pain, infection and temporary or permanent fecal incontinence.

There may be a link between allergies in dogs and anal gland problems. We are not sure if allergic dogs, being itchy, are more bothered by swollen glands, or if the opening of their anal glands becomes inflamed with the rest of their skin and then occluded, or if there is some other link. If your pet has chronic anal gland problems, be sure to note any skin or ear issues also, all of which may be linked to allergies.

Your Pug’s veterinarian will teach you to express anal glands if you would like. It is a technically simple procedure. However, of the many people I have taught the procedure, every single one of them has come back and had me express their pet’s anal glands after one try. The grossness factor just makes it worth the money spent!

Have your Pug’s anal glands checked every three to six months.  After a few check-ups, base the frequency of anal gland expression on your veterinarian’s recommendation.  May you never have to deal with anal glands whatsoever, except for perhaps the occasional anal gland expression.

Stephanie Alford’s Typhoon


Pugs and Allergies

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Originally Written for Pug Partners of Nebraska – Please visit their website to find out how you can help Pugs!

Good overall health will keep your Pug’s immune system strong and perhaps cut down his or her likelihood of developing allergies. However, allergies probably have a strong genetic component, and many environmental factors are outside of our control. So if your Pug does have allergies, it is not due to anything you should have or should not have done. Maintaining overall health will still help as you manage those allergies.

The signs of allergies may mimic other conditions, so it is important to have your pet evaluated by your veterinarian when problems arise. Itchiness is the most common sign of allergies. Other signs of potential allergy problems include skin irritation, rashes, moist dermatitis (“hot spots”) and hair loss. Ear infections, especially recurring ones, may also be an indication of an underlying allergy problem.

Two main classifications of allergies plague our pets: environmental allergies and food aversions. Common environmental allergens include fleas, dust mites, trees, pollens and grasses. Environmental allergens will be more bothersome to pets in some regions than others, so if you move, your pet’s symptoms may worsen or (hopefully) subside.

To diagnose environmental allergies, a serum test or intradermal skin test may be done. Once testing is completed, hypoallergenic shots can be prepared containing small amounts of the offending allergen(s). These are given every few days in slowly increasing increments, with the goal of gradually desensitizing the immune system to the allergens until they are no longer a problem.

The serum and intradermal skin tests that correlate wonderfully to environmental allergens unfortunately have a low rate of coloration for food aversions. The only direct diagnostic test for food aversions is a food trial.

Food aversions are almost exclusively protein-related.  Your veterinarian will recommend a specific diet to be fed exclusively, a novel protein diet (commercial or homemade), or a hydrolyzed protein diet.  Strict adherence will make or break the food trial.  If symptoms of allergies disappear over the course of the trial, the diagnosis is “official” and you may add foods back in one at a time.  If a reaction is seen, that food will need to be avoided in the future.

Sometimes there are only one or two offenders, and sometimes a pet does the best on a very restricted diet. However, dogs don’t usually mind restricted diets, and it is worth whatever diet maneuvers need to be done to keep your pet healthy and comfortable.

Allergies are often treated symptomatically, either exclusively or in conjunction with more direct treatments. Supportive treatment may include anti-histamines, steroids, medicated baths, diet changes, fatty acid supplements, chiropractic and acupuncture. Use all treatments carefully and in full cooperation with your veterinarian.

Our goal when treating any disease is always a complete cure.  However, with allergies, it is more realistic to aim for chronic management and the lowest effective amount of medicine. If our allergic Pug is comfortable and happy, we have succeeded.

Stephanie Alford’s Typhoon

Pugs Are Cute, But They Do Have Issues.

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Ha!  I thought that title was a hilarious understatement!  Woo!  Still laughing.  I DO love Pugs.  I have never met one who was not completely and absolutely sweet.

My awesome brother Bill and his beautiful wife Cara recently adopted a baby Pug from a rescue group in Ohio.  Another friend has walked her Pug through a lifetime of health issues and is now dealing (with all the grace and compassion in the world) with senior Pug issues.  I just wrote a health series for Pug Partners of Nebraska for new Pug adopters.  Pugs have been on my mind a lot lately.

Cara and Baby Gary : )

Pug Partners of Nebraska currently has 28 dogs looking for forever homes.  Check out their website – they are an excellent group with wonderful dogs!!

Pug Partners of Nebraska has allowed me to reprint the article series here.  So the next several posts will be Pug posts, not that there is anything wrong with that.  If you have a Pug, I hope the information in the Pug health articles helps.  If you do not have a Pug, much of the information applies to dogs in general, so I hope it helps you too.  And I hope EVERYONE enjoys the pictures of my friends’ SUPER CUTE Pugs!!  Really, is there any other kind?

Thank you Stephanie Alford!  You were not exaggerating – You DO have the cutest Pug in the world!

Stephanie Alford’s Very Cute Typhoon : )