Q: My Shiba Inu seems to have chronically clogged anal glands. I've had dogs my entire life, but I've never seen so much licking of the butt. I took my dog to the veterinarian for manual extraction but it didn't help. The veterinarian suggested surgery. What do you think? -- S.L., Cyberspace
A: "This is a very common problem," notes Chicago veterinarian Dr. Sheldon Rubin. What's likely occurred is that the anal sacs have become impacted. The sacs are supposed to empty with each bowel movement. However, in some individual dogs this doesn't happen or they don't fully empty. Eventually, they may become impacted. Sometimes the sacs become infected.
"We express (empty) them, and then flush them with antibiotics," Rubin says. "When there is a chronic problem, we also look at the possible effects of allergies, even the possibility of cancer, particularly in older dogs."
Surgical removal of the anal sacs is not a procedure to be taken likely. One potential complication might leave your dog incontinent. If you do ultimately opt for surgery, Rubin suggests you search for a surgeon with lots of experience at this procedure.
©Steve Dale, Tribune Media Services