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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a 2 1/2 year old Jack Russell. Sometimes we notice a fishy smell from his butt..so we were told to express his anal glands...we were doing this..and it would happen like every 2 weeks (the smell)...finally I asked the Vet's Assistant about this...she said that we should never express them and that he should be doing that on his own? She asked me if he butt scoots, but I told her he has never done that. She said maybe after playing sometimes they can have that happen (where the smell comes that they express a little bit out) ...but with our dog this is not the case...we could just be laying around watching tv and we will smell the fishy smell...???? He has no irratation there...no puss, no swelling nothing...??? Should I ask a different vet about it, b/c all the info I see on line says its normal to express his glands...yet the Vet Asst. told me we could damage him from expressing them regularly?

Oh I also asked her if it could be from his dog food..she said no? Yet on line I see it said if their food is not good enough quality that can happen...we feed Purina Pro Plan All Life Stages. BTW..his stool is always hard never mushy or loose (the Vet asked us that as well) and said he should be expressing them on his own then when he poops?

Any info would be appreciated.
 

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My late dog Leeo had anal gland issues his entire life. He once had them clogged and it turned into a bacterial infection in his skin. I fed quality foods to try and fix it, pumpkin to add fiber, and he still had issues. I made a 6 week standing appointment to have them expressed. Clogged anal glands can cause health issues including some nasty bacterial infections within the dogs system ... per Vet.

Personally I would ask a different Vet.
 

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I think ideally they are supposed to be expressed on their own when they have a bowel movement, but some dogs just happen to have issues with it. I've never had a dog with this problem myself but my understanding is that it is very common and not a problem to have them expressed if it becomes an issue. I'd ask them to explain what they think is harmful about it. Maybe they aren't explaining themselves well. Couldn't hurt to ask another vet, though.
 

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In part, the assistant was right. Technically, your dog SHOULD be able to express them natural during a bowel movement. However, many dogs need some assistance. This can be harmful if done too frequently I believe. You have to figure out what time incriments are best for your pet though. Some need it every month, some every 3 months, some never. Basically, you should only express them if they are truly full.
It can also be a sign of an allergy, believe it or not. I'm not sure of all the technical reasoning behind it exactly but it can certainly be related.
I personally would ask another vet if you do not feel comfortable with the result/response that you received.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you so much everyone for all the replies. I think I am going to ask another vet about it. I also think we may try switching his food to Wellness? >>> It got very good reviews, I just dont know how to switch? How is that usually done I know you cannot just give him the new food you have to incorporate it with the old right?
 

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Absolutely. Switching foods cold turkey can really cause some problems for your dogs stomach. And diarrhea can lead to even more anal gland problems. So, you want to do a gradual switch. My suggestion would be for a few days, replace about a quarter of your dogs normal meal with the new food. If all goes well, a few days later, start to replace half of the meal with new food and half old. Again, if all goes well, add a little more. Do about 3/4 new food, and 1/4 old for a few more days. If there are still no issues, go ahead and try feeding nothing but the new diet.
Good luck!
 

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One other point, from what I read, you never spoke to the Vet. I suggest that you speak directly with the Vet, before changing, b/c asking an assistant can be like asking the person at the front desk of your doctor if you are sick....

Small dogs may need to be expressed; larger dogs tend to express themselves, but not all the time. Make sure you ask the Vet to show you how to express the anal glands, b/c there is a technique to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I called another vet...the vet tech that we saw was on our military base. We have another vet we also use out in town. I called the one out in town, he pretty much agreed with what was said on here, that it is ok for us to express them if we smell something or if we see he is trying to lick there or butt scoot, (which he doesn't do) for example again today he had some of that just come out while he was sleeping I smelled it....the vet said he didn't think it was the food but I could try to switch, he said that sometimes some dogs just do not express them all the way when they poop he also asked how we do it, I explained he said that is fine and he is fine if there is no swelling, redness, discharge (signs of inflammation or infection).
 

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I get it cleaned out at the vet. The smell is meaning it needs to be expressed. A lot of malamutes get this as well. Some good groomers will do it as well. I am on very good food and it doesn't make a difference. I even fed raw and she still got this. I need to get hers expressed soon. She isn't doing to butt scoot. Depends on where your at my vet will do it for 20.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
We do it ourselves. We watched a video on it. Its really easy....btw...my vet asked if we go inside the butt when we do it?? I was like "UGHHH EWWW NO"...LOL "we just squeeze around the outside and it expresses" he said "thats good"
 
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