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beccadiane374

Possible Anal Gland Removal

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beccadiane374

Hello, all.

I was wondering if anyone had any knowledge about anal gland removal surgery.  Tanner (8 years old) has had extensive problems with his anal glands getting impacted.  He has had to undergo anesthesia due to abscesses and needing to have them drained numerous times.  We had thought we had worked out a way to prevent this by putting him on a very controlled diet of HA food only (no treats, no other food at all).  However, he is still continuing to have problems with his anal glands.  The abscesses seems to come up almost overnight; it's not as if he is scooting for a few days and then has an abscess.  He will scoot once and the next day have an abscess.  It is very, very painful for him.  At this point, the doctor is suggesting anal gland removal surgery.  She is not pushing for it, but thinks it would be the best solution.  I've tried to do some research online and it sounds as if, in most cases, this is a surgery that doesn't have many negative feedback, but, as with any surgery, there are risk/complications.  I'm just trying to make an educated decision on the good versus the bad for both options - surgery or no surgery.

 

I thought I'd just check & see if anyone knew or had any history with this problem.

 

Thanks in advance. I realize this sounds all rather calm in type print, but I am dealing with a great deal of anxiety in regards to this - the idea of my poor boy undergoing surgery, as well as stress in regards to finances.

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hheldorfer

So sorry to hear Tanner is having these issues, Becky. 

I once discussed this with a vet (this was many years ago, so take this with a grain of salt) and he said the surgery *can* cause incontinence.  I'm sure surgical methods have changed/improved since then, which may have reduced the chances of that outcome.  I'm only mentioning it because you may want to ask your vet.

That being said, if poor Tanner is suffering (and who wouldn't be, with anal abscesses popping up overnight) I'd give the surgery serious consideration.  Have you gone anywhere for a second opinion?  Do you think that would be worthwhile?

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sanford

I agree with hheldorfer, that you and poor Tanner dont seem to have good options re surgery. Assuming that Tanner will have to undergo anesthesias for treating abscesses in the future, the difference in costs for dealing with the abscesses as they occur, vs. the cost of one-time surgical gland removal, might not end up being very different. As mentioned above, a second opinion could be worthwhile In order to determine if the veterinary surgeon can minimize the chance of incontinence by not severing the sphincter when performing the surgery.

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Terrier lover
Posted (edited)

What I am reading sounds like it should be done by a board certified veterinary surgeon.  It sounds like a bit of tricky surgery as there can be complication afterwards. I would seek out one and ask for a second opinion.  

Edited by Terrier lover

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Hillscreek

Agree a second opinion might be a good idea. I would be concerned about learning the after effects of surgery regarding not only urinary incontinence but possibly fecal incontinence also.

Wishing you and Tanner good luck in easing his discomfort poor little guy.

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Corn Niblet

I had a great Pyrenees female who was having the same problems about 15 years ago.  We went ahead with the surgery which was done by my regular vet.  I don't remember  her having any complications, but do remember we were so glad we had it done and wished we would have had it done sooner. That said, this was a large breed female, so maybe the results would be different.  A second opinion never hurts though and will make you feel better about your decision.  Hope all goes well for Tanner.

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remltr

I would get a second opinion, but lean towards having the surgery done. I think Tanner will benefit greatly from it.

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_whits_
Posted (edited)

I'm sorry to hear Tanner is struggling with this. I don't have any personal experience - although we were considering it with my childhood Maltese until her issues cleared up. At the time (nearly 20 years ago) the veterinarian didn't appear all that concerned with complications from the surgery, he just wanted to make sure he wasn't subjecting her to something she didn't need until he was sure she needed it. 

I will say, that when Addie had her tumor removal this past summer we went to a specialist surgeon and it was well worth the cost in terms of his expertise and my peace of mind. Her veterinarian at the time thought she could likely do it, but said she'd feel more comfortable with the specialist, with Addie's leg being so small. I know cost doesn't always make this feasible, but it's worth considering. Maybe even just seeing a specialist for a second opinion, as they'd have more research and practical knowledge about complications, just from surgery being their specialty. 

I think sanford brought up a good point, that continued abscess treatment will add up over time, in terms of both money and pain for Tanner. I'm always in favor of exhausting all options before surgery, but if it's the only thing that will ease the little man's pain it's certainly worth considering. 

I think it's worth talking with your veterinarian again to get a clear-eyed assessment on risks of both surgery and not doing surgery. Ask her to explain the worst possible complications and what she would do to mitigate those. Ask her what the long-term prognosis is for Tanner without surgery. The more you have a clearer picture of what his life will be like either way, I think the better placed you are to make the best decision for him.

Wishing you the best of luck as you decide what's best.

Edited by _whits_

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shergry

Our old boy (10 years old at the time) had a growth around the anal area. He was not neutered at the time, and was told by vet that is common for dogs that are in tack. So upon having growth removed and being neutered, so much better on poops or smell from him. He never had a problem, but I would expel his gland from time to time when I got an odor from him....it is VERY distinct!!!!

I agree get a second opinion, but would ALWAYS have a certified vet do any surgery, etc. on our furkids! We were very glad with the outcome, he did not miss a step in acting as a Cairn does!!:D

Best of luck and prayers for the best decision for both, Tanner and you.

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kjwarnold
Posted (edited)

Our first Cairn, Willie, had similar problems and we eventually did opt for anal gland removal.  Willie would cry at times because of the pain; that tells you something because normally Cairns are so stoic about pain.  The surgery was done by our regular vet but he was very familiar with it and the possible complications.  Willie came through it well and we were very happy we did it.

I'm guessing this was about 1998, so I'm sure there are newer methods for the surgery that make it easier to avoid possible incontinence issues after.  Good luck to you and Tanner.

Oh, Willie would have been about 8 years old at the time.

Edited by kjwarnold

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beccadiane374

Thank you all so much for your wisdom & input!  I've compiled an extensive list of questions to ask the vet & surgeon.  :)

The vet we are currently seeing (and have for the past 5 years) is the second vet I've taken Tanner to during his lifetime.  While I didn't *dislike* the first vet, there was never the connection or confidence that I have with the current vet.  They have been a Godsend to Tanner & I - it is also where he goes to Doggie Daycare, so he's there 5 days a week.  They've worked with me in the past on payment arrangements and actually have me locked in to a lesser amount for Doggie Daycare rates.  A couple of years ago, they added a second doctor, and I was very leery at first, but we've seen the new doc a few times and all has been well with her. Both docs have seen and treated Tanner for the abscesses and have both recommended the surgery.  I know it's in the same office, but they're treatments and personalities are differing.  The surgeon is a doctor that actually works with several veterinary offices in the area, traveling to the offices specifically for surgeries.  I've just gotten that information to be able to do some research on him in particular.  From what I've been able to find so far, it sounds like he tends towards doing laser surgeries, which may heal better.  

I do think, long-term, it would be more cost-effective, as well as saving my boy future pain.  The benefit of this type of thing is that I don't have to make a decision right now or with no choice to do some research.  I'm leaning more towards going ahead with it, but hoping we can wait until I get my tax return.  Our vet office does also accept the Care Credit for veterinary, and I've been approved for a $500 card for that.  (They are estimating $1000-$1200, so it's not an impossible expense, and compared to $150-$200 for each abscess....I'm just a single person on a single income, so I have to consider that and surprise expenses related to other things as well.) 

Again, thank you all for being a sounding board!  I will keep you updated, as I'm sure if we proceed with the surgery, I'll become a bit of a mess for a space of time & will (as always) appreciate the support I find here. 

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hheldorfer

Sounds like you have things under control Becky!  If both vets recommend the surgery I would have no worries about going ahead with it.  Way back when I had discussed it with our vet I don't think they even performed laser surgeries on dogs.  I imagine the laser surgery is less invasive and probably heals more quickly, which would be great for Tanner.

Good luck and keep us in the loop!

  

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LindaMC

So sorry that Tanner is going through this, I'm sure that with technology today and if you elect to have the surgery, things will go fine.  I will say a special prayer for Tanner and offer you a huge hug.  Good luck with whatever you decide.

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Dempsy's Mom

We too are sorry for Tanner's dilemma - hope all goes well and Tanner can find some relief.  Sounds like you are in good hands Tanner!! 

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beccadiane374

So...Tanner & I met with the surgeon today.  Our normal vet was also with us in the meeting.  I really liked the surgeon and he answered my very extensive list of questions (he said all owners should ask questions like I do).  The surgeon has performed over 2,000 of this surgery with few complications.  We are going ahead with the surgery and have scheduled for February 22. I'm sure I'll be a basket case around then.  I did warn him that I'm a bit obsessive/neurotic when it comes to Tanner - he says he prefers owners that way; he knows the dogs will get the care they need at home.  Thank you all for being a sounding board!

Edited by beccadiane374

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Terrier lover

Becky it sounds all good. If it brings relief for Tanner then all the more power to you for being such a good mum. I know you will be a wreck...I would also be the same but you have a qualified knowledgable surgeon operating. You couldn't ask for more. Hang in there we are all with you on this journey.

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Hillscreek

Tanner sure does have a good mom! You'll know you'll have us all wishing you both the best.

 

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hheldorfer

That's great news!  I'm so glad the vet answered all your questions and helped to put your mind at ease.  (Although I know you will still be a nervous wreck when the time comes.)  Tanner will feel much better when this is over!

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_whits_

I'm so glad to hear you found an experienced surgeon and what sounds like a good treatment for Tanner. Hopefully this means he'll have some long-term relief soon! We'll all be here to support you through his surgery. Even when you know it's the best option it's still hard not to be a nervous wreck. 

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kieiras mom

 Glad that you are at ease with the surgeon, and he answered all your questions.Know we are thinking of you and Tanner. Keep us informed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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beccadiane374

Well...tomorrow is the big day & I'm feeling very nervous.  I was laid up last week with the flu, and in a way, it was a good  thing, as it served to be a bit of a distraction, but now it's getting real.  Tanner will have his anal glands removed, as well as a dental cleaning tomorrow.  They've assured me it will not be too much trauma to have both done at once and would limit his need to undergo a second anesthesia.  He's had dentals done in the past, so we are used to that, it's the unknown that is worrisome.  I've bought some doggie diapers to limit his ability to re-open the area (e-collars are ineffective, as he is able to get them off) and I have off work Thursday & Friday, with no plans for the weekend.  The vet has said Tanner could come there next week and they will keep an eye on him and let him out to go potty as needed throughout the day until he is cleared to return to Doggie Daycare (he goes M-F every week).  We appreciate any prayers & well wishes.  Thanks for all your support. :)

Edited by beccadiane374

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Hillscreek

Good luck Tanner. Hoping all goes well and buddy Tanner will be more comfortable in the future.

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Terrier lover

Good luck Becky and Tanner! Just think ..once he has recovered his days of having a tender butt will be over. no more abscesses. I get you will be a wreck (I would also be a basket case)  but it will be behind you soon. 

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hheldorfer

Best wishes for a successful surgery and quick recovery.  We'll all be waiting to hear that you're home again, safe and sound.  Hugs to both of you!:hug:

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