As is common in such circumstances, she was also eating excessive amounts of grass.
Anal gland irritation is notoriously difficult to improve long term because it is frequently associated with anatomical abnormalities which prevent the sacs from emptying properly, so there is always some secretion present. This then acts as a constant source of annoyance and / or inflammation. On top of this many prescribed medications (antibiotics in particular) alter the gut flora balance in the glands, making matters worse. Carbohydrates and sugars in the diet also have an adverse effect, as they feed yeast overgrowth in the gut and also help unhealthy bowel bacteria thrive to the detriment of beneficial microbes which help to keep the anal glands healthy. Genetics and early life experiences may also play a part, especially if digestive disturbances occur in the neonatal period, which affect normal digestive tract development.
Despite the challenges, it is possible to positively affect anal sac health over time, by changing the diet. The timescale however, is usually measured in many months or years.
Lily was a rescue from Bosnia where she was found as a street pup and then subsequently housed in a very large 'shelter' holding around 700 dogs. All they could afford to feed was a poor quality kibble. This is undoubtedly where her anal sac health began to suffer.
A Step Forward
The first change to Lilly's diet, was to switch her from a 'complete' raw containing kelp (not organic), to Vince the Vet single protein Turkey.
There were few signs of improvement to begin with, and then this...
"Just a quick note to say thank you thank you thank you!!!
Your diet plan has been so brilliantly successful for Lilly.
She had been scooting (allergies / anal glands) pretty much twice, sometimes more, a day over the last year, and now maybe once or twice a week at the most!
I can't imagine how much better she feels, (and it has saved us hugely in washing the blankets we had to have down!).
Her poos are consistently good too!
We have had her anal glands expressed just once since starting the new feeding regime.
Given the tremendous overall improvement for Lilly, we are hopeful that the frequency of expression will be reduced even more, and may not be needed at all.
I am so grateful for all your support and advice along the way. We have a very happy dog who is so much more comfortable!
I belong to an online support group for Romanian rescue dogs so I am going to write a post about the brilliant success we have had with your support.
WITH MANY THANKS
Sue and Lilly paws.
There's very few problems that can't be helped with the right nutritional support, whether this be diet related skin problems, digestive disturbances, anal gland issues, and many others.
If you would like to go down this route with your dog, do get in touch.