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Anal Gland Impaction or ??

by Cindy P
(Bay Area, CA)

First, I want to thank you for this service. Just a few questions might help our family get clarity on the situation. I'm a holistic health practitioner (in practice for 8 years) and working on master herbology through Dr. Christopher's School, though only at the level of Family Herbalist as of today.

My 13 year old black lab terrier, Comet, has had on-again, off-again anal gland issues the last couple of months. Butt scooting, a little bit of mucus coming from the glands themselves.

I changed his food nearly 2 months ago to Orijin biologic specific food, with a bone about every other weak with great success. I soak his food in a Heal-All tea (White oak bark, plaintain, black walnut hulls, chaparral, burdock, marshmallow and comfrey root and leaf), pumpkin puree, soaked chia seed, turmeric, unsweetened coconut flakes and the results have been amazing! The lymphatic lumps on his back disappeared, his arthritis became nearly non existent and that over riding irritation and quick to temper left him. We found great remedy!

But then I went out of town, thought he was well enough that the family didn't need to do all the prep I do for him, and he was fed the Costco Grain Free food (the old food) and within 48 hours, he grew about a 5 cm lump in his rectum up through his tail but more on the left side than the right. His anus is very swollen.

When I got home yesterday I immediately put him on pumpkin puree and some coconut oil thinking if it's a hardened lump, I could soften it. I also used some stomach and bowel formula to draw the lymph from the tissue with a little cascara to soften. He seemed to initially do much better.

I also used hot and cold compresses with the Heal All tea solution or a bit of salt. I was able to do a tiny bit of enema. He was very active, though he was swollen for sure up until about midnight last night.

He then curled next to me and I could feel a fever on his ears and a lot of heat from from his hind quarters. He was drinking a LOT of water, so that made sense. I did some reiki healing and threw away the "pain" and replaced it with some blue and within about 2 hours, the fever broke.

But this morning, he's having a hard time walking, he's lethargic, and other than drinking water, he's not really interested.

I took him for a walk and he released plenty of urine and tried to squeeze and some soft stool released. (He did have several movements last night on our walk...)

Here's our primary issues: 1. Comet is old, has been grumpy for years and is NOT a vet friendly dog. I can't say I blame him, he's had some pretty knarly injuries (kicked by a cow, torn pelt from barbed wire fence, jumped out of the car with his leash attached)...he's my hiking, running, energy dog! I do not want him to suffer but at the same time, the vet experience is so traumatic, the only way we are going back is for his final trip. Our family is in agreement with this. 2. Finances being what they are, getting to the vet will probably mean invasive surgery to remove the impacted gland, and then the host of other problems of having to dart him, etc., is not something we are prepared to do emotionally and financially. Comet has had a GREAT life, make no mistake - but we are not into rebuilding animals...when it's time it's time...

This morning, I tried to put some Nu-Natural on the rectum area hoping it will help with swelling. He's in his crate resting, but isn't interested in much else.

My question is: based on above, what measures can we do at home to either alleviate his pain and suffering, or use herbal remedies to repair.

Thank you for your time,

Cindy Paiva

Comments for Anal Gland Impaction or ??

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Jun 12, 2012
Update on Comet
by: CJ

His anal gland finally opened last night, which has brought significant relief. However, the new issue is now upon us:

Keeping infection out.

Giving him baths 2x per day with a little epsom salt I'm able to apply a saline solution to the open wound. I'm using some herbal poultices when he allows me, but obviously he doesn't want me near it.

I have a cone on him to prevent the licking.

Again, we are dealing with a dog that is not vet-friendly, so we will need to control this issue here at home (oh how I wish he were, I'd gladly have someone else deal with all of this!)

Any suggestions? Herbs?



Jun 13, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Anal Gland Impaction or??
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Cindy,
You wrote,
Comet "has had on again/off again anal gland issues for the last 2 months, scooting on rear-end and mucous discharge."

His diet was changed 2 months ago to Orijen with herbs and plenty of moisture, then suddenly switched to Costco grain free.

If Comet is OVERWEIGHT and prone to constipation, this will guarantee that he will continue to have ongoing anal gland issues. He needs to be on a canned or raw diet with LOTS of fiber. See our page on High Fiber Dog Food.


Also, learning how to express his glands, once a month, for 1-2 months, will help to keep them empty, until diet stabilizes his condition, so he is able to do it naturally. (Perhaps a visit by a housecall veterinarian would not be as stressful as a visit to a vet hospital?)

Now that the anal gland abscess is draining, that will help to drain OUT the infection, which includes bacteria, pus, and dead tissue. KEEP the 'wound' open as long as possible. Continue with the baths and compresses on his anal area, and use hydrogen peroxide to remove any premature scabs.

Abscesses need to heal from the inside first, allowing the skin to heal LAST. If the skin scabs over and starts healing, it will 'seal' in the infected tissue, and another abscess will form. If you can keep the cone on him, it will prevent him from biting you, so keep it in place while you are treating him. Bathe the area at least once daily, and the longer you can keep it draining, 3-5 days at least the better!

Also, immune system supplements may be necessary to keep him healthy.

1. Missing Link Canine Formula
2. Immuplex from Standard Process
3. OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder


Jun 14, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Anal Gland Impaction or?? PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Cindy,
Here is the rest of my response.

Decreasing or stopping anymore vaccinations may also help his immune system.

Homeopathic remedies may be needed if he is slow to heal or not able to heal completely. A holistic veterinarian would be able to advise you, and in fact, may be LESS stressful than a conventional veterinarian. Taking into account his 'not vet friendly' attitude, he may need some remedies associated with 'vaccinosis'.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Jun 17, 2012
by: Cindy

Thank you so much for the information, it was helpful to remember that dogs need to lick their wounds, so I took the cone off and let him lick!

We are a week into this event and I'm happy to report that my dog is well into his healing and recovery.

We did bring an animal whisperer over to try to get through some of his vet issues, of which we learned a GREAT deal about how Comet had been holding his traumas from the vet experiences. She said it started in 2004, and that's the first trauma he had.

I approached comet different and he gave me a difference response. So the emotions of taking him to a vet or not were right on - he did not want to go to the vet either. I think his emotional trauma will begin to heal quite nicely.

As for physical, I used several herbs and soaked his food and cooked carrots in. I bathed him twice per day, and while I wasn't able to get a poultice or a forment on him, the soapy water was enough to keep pouring over his wound.

So, we saved probably $1k in vet bills, we unlocked Comet's traumas, and the whole family learned much from the experience.

Thank you so much, I hope this dialog will help others too. :)

Jun 18, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Anal Gland Impaction or??
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Cindy,
That is great to hear that Comet is healing and doing better.

Thank you for the update.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Diarrhea Medicine,
- Dog Constipation Symptoms & Treatment,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Diarrhea, Constipation and/or Digestive Problems Section

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