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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I'm a new user here. :)

My dog Ripley is a 1 year old spayed female Chihuahua/Cocker mix that I adopted from the local animal shelter as a 2 month old puppy. She is a lovely dog, but she has an embarrassing problem.

Since she was about 4 months old she has had issues with her anal glands. They fill up very quickly and require regular expression. If I don't express them, she will scoot and lick at her butt for relief. Fortunately I am a veterinary technician so I'm not squeamish about it, but it does get tiresome. I keep track of how often she needs expressing and we are currently up to careful internal expression once a week.

That's bad. But fortunately I think I figured out part of the problem. I'm pretty sure she is allergic to poultry - chicken, to be precise. I started her on a poultry-free diet (salmon & sweet potato dry food) and a supplement called Glandex, but about two weeks later she suddenly developed a UTI.

We went to the vet for a urinalysis and ~$300 later I have 2 weeks of Clavamox tablets and an overpriced bag of Royal Canin Urinary S/O dry food which contains, you guessed it, CHICKEN. They found some struvite crystals in her urine and wanted her on the prescription diet to dissolve the crystals (her urine pH was 7.5). Everything was fine for a few days, but she's just started licking at her paws more, having gas, and passing soft stools. I'm convinced it's because of the chicken-based food.

What to do when a pet is allergic to their prescription diet?

And what to do about her awful anal glands? I'm trying to avoid anal sacculectomy because of how painful and expensive it is, not to mention the risk of fecal incontinence. We definitely don't want that.

So far I've come up with this "game plan":
1. Continue using Glandex supplement powder daily
2. Switch to a poultry-free, potato-free, limited ingredient diet (i.e. Lamb & Pea or similar)
3. Use a cranberry supplement powder for urinary health (i.e. Solid Gold or NaturVet)
4. Use urine pH strips regularly for home monitoring
5. See veterinarian for regular urinalyses to ensure the above plan works and isn't causing harm.

FYI - I am aware about the importance of water consumption with respect to urinary issues. She gets a spoonful of canned food with each meal. Any more and she gets loose stools - we learned this the hard way.

Does anyone have any other ideas to share?

Thanks for reading!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I forgot to mention, I have tried increasing her fiber intake and adding pure canned pumpkin to her diet, etc. which helps with stool firmness, but it has not helped with the anal gland issue at all.

I'm starting to wonder if maybe her anal glands may be positioned in such a way that they cannot empty themselves. :(
 

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I have been using prunes with success for a few years and have given the info to others on the forum that have used it sucessfuly. Small dog one prune cut up in the food 2 or 3 times a week. Get the organic ones with no sulfur. On the crystals read this and you will see a food change is not necessary unless there is an infection.
DogAware.com Articles: Struvite Crystals & Stones
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Do you think prunes work better than pumpkin? The pumpkin helps to firm up her stool, but her glands still won't express naturally. I think they may be positioned too deep to do so.
 

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My dog also had a lot of anal gland issues. He now "scoots" about once every two or three weeks, but other than that it does not seem to be a problem at all (and not having to pay to have them expressed is nice!). My feeling is that if they are getting the correct diet, this issue will take care of itself.

For both the anal gland, and urinary tract issues, you want a diet that is low carbohydrate, and lots of high quality protein. The Royal Canin diets are the opposite of this, and I hate that vets prescribe them! Ideally the diet would be grain-free and potato-free, but it is pretty much impossible to find a kibble that is free of both, as the starches glue the kibble together (anyone know of a kibble like that?). You do not want high fiber--this actually makes the stool softer and the firmness is what is needed to push the stuff out.

I think your plan is good, if you can find the right kibble diet for her. I am a huge fan of raw now, as it has everything--high quality protein, lots of moisture in the diet, and lots of bone to firm up the poop tremendously. A step down from that would be a freeze-dried raw food, though they are expensive. But my dog also did well on a good quality kibble (last one was by Nutrisource). Actually, now that I think about it, I was feeding him a couple of raw meaty bones per week at that time--like chicken wings. Also make sure they she is not getting any fatty treats such as peanut butter or marrow bones, as that will loosen things up. You can get her back to emptying naturally!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I ordered some Nature's Variety Instinct Lamb & Pea kibble. It uses tapioca as the carbohydrate. Here's a page that lists ingredients.

Nature's Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Lamb Meal & Peas Formula Dry Dog Food, 25.3-lb bag

I was also thinking about doing half raw and half kibble. Maybe kibble for breakfast and raw for dinner? I don't feel comfortable formulating the raw diet myself (worried about food safety, I have had food poisoning myself one too many times, also worried about proper vitamin/mineral balance) so I'd buy an already prepared raw food - she's only 15 lbs. so it won't be terribly expensive. I am willing to pay if it helps us avoid the removal surgery. I got a sample bag of the Instinct raw frozen bites (beef) so that's a good start.

How long after putting your dog on his current diet did it take for you to see improvement with his glands? And how often does he need expressing nowadays?

Thanks for your comment btw, it really makes me feel better. :)
 

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That's actually how I fed my dog (Yogi) for almost a year. I started with kibble, then added a few pre-ground commercial raw meals twice a week. Then I got a bit braver and switched the raw meals to raw meaty bones (for teeth cleaning effects). Then for about a year I fed him kibble for breakfast, and raw for dinner (alternating pre-ground commercial and raw meaty bones).

When my stepson turned out to be allergic to dog dander, I switched to complete raw (morning pre-ground, evening raw meaty bone). I'm very happy with that diet now (7 months in), and it takes the stress off of getting him enough organ meat. Once the diet is right, poop-related issues will resolve almost immediately--I'm sure you've seen how fast they pop up!

Before we had to do expressing about every two weeks, now I never even think about it. He scoots every now and then, but very infrequently, and never licks his butt or seems bothered by it.

The kibble you listed looks good from the link info. Hopefully she will be doing better much soon. Don't even think about surgery!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If I can't get her glands under control through diet changes then I think surgery may be the best option. I don't mind doing the internal expression myself at home, but having to do it every week isn't normal at all and is indicative of a problem. :( Sometimes she doesn't even last the full week before she starts scooting or chowing down on her butt.

But I plan to exhaust every possible option before going the surgical route. Fortunately she has pet insurance.
 

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Hi,

I have been through this myself with my dog Jessie who is 2 years 2 months old now. it was very long process arguing with vet who didnt beleive she was allergic to chicken going through elimanation diets even high fibre ones. she ended up when she had them emptied for the very last time 4 days in between expressions before she had the operation to remove them. let me tell you 2nd night was hell no jokes very distressing. they were constantly infected even from flushing them came back took two anti bitoics before the op to clear them up. Insurance paid the 900 bill. well most of it.

Jessie also had UTI problems and the vet did put her on that food! i changed to another vet after crystals problem she is on urinaid to prevent them and uti's and cystitis. However after i have an operation im going to try apple cider vinegar in her water Apple Cider Vinegar - A Holistic Remedy for Dogs - Whole Dog Journal Article. Also vitamin c helps prevent and rebulid the bladder and cranberry stops infections so there are other natural options
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi crazy,

I read your thread about your dog's experience with the gland removal surgery. I'm glad she had good results! Fortunately my dog's glands have not gotten infected so far (knock on wood). She is used to being expressed regularly so it doesn't bother her at all. I have the person holding her give treats while I'm doing it, so she thinks of the whole thing as a positive experience. :eek:

We have a follow up appointment at the vet in 4 days where they will do another urinalysis, and I'll probably end up arguing with them about the Royal Canin S/O and her being allergic to chicken.

I'll keep this thread updated about how she does on the poultry-free, potato-free diet. I am going to incorporate some frozen raw food as well and see how she tolerates it.

Thank you for all your advice and supportive words. It really means a lot!
 

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For both the anal gland, and urinary tract issues, you want a diet that is low carbohydrate, and lots of high quality protein. The Royal Canin diets are the opposite of this, and I hate that vets prescribe them! Ideally the diet would be grain-free and potato-free, but it is pretty much impossible to find a kibble that is free of both,

Actually there are two on the market that are grain and potato free. One is Zignature and the other is Go Sensitive and Shine.
 

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Do you think prunes work better than pumpkin? The pumpkin helps to firm up her stool, but her glands still won't express naturally. I think they may be positioned too deep to do so.
I have never used the pumpkin but I know the prunes work. I don't see why you could not use both.
 

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Hi crazy,

I read your thread about your dog's experience with the gland removal surgery. I'm glad she had good results! Fortunately my dog's glands have not gotten infected so far (knock on wood). She is used to being expressed regularly so it doesn't bother her at all. I have the person holding her give treats while I'm doing it, so she thinks of the whole thing as a positive experience. :eek:

We have a follow up appointment at the vet in 4 days where they will do another urinalysis, and I'll probably end up arguing with them about the Royal Canin S/O and her being allergic to chicken.

I'll keep this thread updated about how she does on the poultry-free, potato-free diet. I am going to incorporate some frozen raw food as well and see how she tolerates it.

Thank you for all your advice and supportive words. It really means a lot!
I am very glad that so far they havent been infected and im glad its a positive experience for her jessie hated them being done i tried to do myself but no luck and she rather i didnt.

Do let us know how the appointment goes and i suspect there could be disagreements about that food as vets seem to think its proven to help control such conditions. I dont see how at all that it helps with the ingredients. Id rather try natural approach which thankfully my vet is open to. You are most welcome i have been there with both issues and more and feel if i didnt try help or be supportive then thats just mean and selfish not to share my experiences and whats worked for my Jessie.

Do see what urinaid would cost for her though and if they sell it there its great but if too expensive id try either acv, cranberry powder or vit c first. Infact im going to try in next few months acv with Jessie just to see what happens because at health shop i go to ony $7.95 for 700ml bottle! would last ages for a 5.7kg dog!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
We went to the vet this morning. As expected, the vet prescribed the Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein food when I mentioned that Ripley is allergic to the chicken in the Urinary S/O food. I returned what was left of the bag of S/O (yay) - so that's $40 back in my bank account.

Unfortunately, Ripley's bladder was empty and they couldn't do another urinalysis. :rolleyes:

So now I'm torn between trying to treat the struvites naturally (cranberry powder + pH monitoring strips) or just caving and putting her on the Hydrolyzed Protein food. The reason I'm considering it at all is because that food could potentially kill two birds with one stone - the urinary problems (it's "S/O index" meaning it dissolves urinary crystals just like the S/O diet), plus it has the potential to alleviate her anal gland problems since it's hypoallergenic. This is of course IF her anal gland issues are caused by allergies and not poor positioning of the glands.

I'm extremely resistant to the Hydrolyzed Protein food because the ingredients are so low quality. It's practically a vegetarian diet, which I absolutely do not believe in for pets.

Ingredients:
Brewers rice, hydrolyzed soy protein, chicken fat, natural flavors, vegetable oil, sodium silico aluminate, dried beet pulp, monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate, salt, fish oil, fructooligosaccharides, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, sodium tripolyphosphate, taurine, choline chloride, vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), inositol, niacin supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), D-calcium pantothenate, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin A acetate, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), trace minerals (zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), rosemary extract, preserved with natural mixed tocopherols and citric acid. - Info from Chewy.com

Don't get me wrong, I am a veterinary technician and I believe that prescription diets have their place. I'm not 100% distrustful of veterinarians like many people are. But my dog is only 1 year old, with no serious health problems besides these stupid crystals, so I'm reluctant to have her on this food for life unless I absolutely have to.

I guess I have some decisions to make.
 

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Ugh, I'm sorry to say, that is an awful food for dogs. Dogs are not vegetarians--they are carnivores, and need meat! and lots of it! They have absolutely no dietary need for carbohydrates, and in fact carbs cause problems for them. I truly hope you do not put her on that diet! I'm not sure why you are thinking that the gland issue is allergy related? Seems like two different issues.

I don't have a problem with vets--in fact I really value mine, found after a long hard search for a good vet. He helped my nurse my cat through 6 years of kidney failure. The only problem that I have with them is when it comes to diet--so many of them were educated by the large vet pet food manufacturers, and they seem to be totally brainwashed. My vet is just now coming around to raw feeding. He has so many breeders, showers and dog sport enthusiasts that feed raw, that he could not deny their successes any longer. Or maybe he just got tired of arguing with me!:)
 

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Id go with cranberry powder and ph strips to be honest
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ugh, I'm sorry to say, that is an awful food for dogs. Dogs are not vegetarians--they are carnivores, and need meat! and lots of it! They have absolutely no dietary need for carbohydrates, and in fact carbs cause problems for them. I truly hope you do not put her on that diet! I'm not sure why you are thinking that the gland issue is allergy related? Seems like two different issues.
Anal gland problems are often a sign of food allergies. When Ripley eats food containing chicken, her anals go into overdrive. I express her thoroughly using the internal method but she will be scooting and licking at her butt 3 days later. It's insane.

I'm not a huge fan of Dr. Becker but she talks about it on her site. Scooting – A Sign that Dog has Anal Gland Problem
 

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I'd not put her on that food. It's not like it's going to take care of the crystals, it's missing meat as an ingredient, and some dogs that are allergic to chicken are also allergic to chicken fat.

There are plenty of grain free, chicken free, high protein, foods out there if you suspect or know she has a chicken allergy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'd not put her on that food. It's not like it's going to take care of the crystals, it's missing meat as an ingredient, and some dogs that are allergic to chicken are also allergic to chicken fat.

There are plenty of grain free, chicken free, high protein, foods out there if you suspect or know she has a chicken allergy.
It actually would take care of the crystals because it's one of their S/O index prescription foods. That's the main reason I'm even considering it.

S/O Index - This diet promotes a urinary environment unfavorable to the development of both struvite and calcium oxalate crystals

I currently have her on Instinct Lamb & Pea with supplementation of NuVet cranberry powder every other day or so. Just weaned her off of the S/O diet that contains chicken. Really hoping she won't develop more crystals. If she does then I think we're screwed. :/

I'll have to make an appointment for a follow-up urinalysis soon to check on her progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
goodnews.jpg

Ripley had a follow-up urinalysis today and it was all clear! No more crystals! Woohoo! :D

She's doing well on the lamb & pea food, and I've been adding a chopped prune every couple days to help with her anal glands like Dawnben suggested. I also use the Glandex powder daily and NuVet cranberry powder supplement every couple days.

Last time we went 9 days between expressions. We're currently on day 7 and no signs of scooting or discomfort yet (knock on wood).

Thanks for all your help and advice!
 
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