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Why express anal glands?

Discussion in 'Dogs - all breeds / types' started by DeLaUK, Apr 24, 2005.

  1. DeLaUK

    DeLaUK New Member

    (Inspired by a comment from another thread)
    Im just curious about this. Not critsizing anyone, I really would like to know....
    I am fully aware that there are dogs that need assistance with their anal glands being expressed but I know that a lot of groomers express the anal glands as part of the service. Why is that if the dogs dont need any human assistance? The reason I ask if that Ive heard over and over again from clients that have brought their dogs in for things like anal gland abscesses, ruptured anal glands (and I have seen a couple that have literally been rushed in by groomers for this), some owners reporting that the dog never had a problem before going to the groomers. Some Ive seen with dogs that have been patients for a number of years and looking back through their medical history there has been no previous problems. I know a number of vets who literally cringe at the thought of some groomers providing this service as if it is not done correctly it can cause problems or at the very least be uncomforable and sometimes painful for the dogs.
    So my question is why? Why do something (not talking about dogs that have existing problems with it....that in itself I understand if its done by a groomer with experience...in some cases is fine, its not difficult to do as long as you know what your doing) but on a dog with no problems why do something that is usually done as part of the dogs natural process of defecating?
    Of all the dogs Ive had through my life, a good variety of breeds and sizes, not one of them has ever had their anal glands manually expressed by anyone and have never had any problems with them for not having it done, no bad odours, no excessive scooting etc.....Is it just a way to gain some more money?
  2. Maisey

    Maisey New Member

    The groomer I work for does this on small dogs she grooms as a routine. She taught me how to do it and I do it for my Poodle who does have troubles managing it naturally. None of my other dogs do. She was very serious about teaching me to do it safely and I have never seen or heard of her having a problem. I wonder if they teach it in grooming school and thats why they all do it? The groomer I work for does not charge extra for it. I'll ask her why it's part of the service...it's a good question.
  3. DeLaUK

    DeLaUK New Member

    Thanks. Like I said if it is for a dog that needs it, I just dont understand why its done by pretty much all the groomers I know, routinely on dogs that dont need it, I know some do charge for it, in fact I personally dont know any that dont, its not expensive, usually around $10-$15, I think what concerns me is that while I do know quite a few groomers that have some medical experience, usually work as a tech also adn have had vets show them how to do ti properly or have been trained by other great groomers who do know what theyre doing but I now more groomers that have not been through a school, have never worked at or with a vet and have basically got all their knowledge from a video or a book. One of the most creative groomers I know (Ive seen some awesome cuts on dogs that shes done) but I asked her one day why she does it and she said she read it in a book and learnt how to do it by looking at a diagram. Her attitude was its a quick 10 bucks and she is not the only one Ive heard say that.
  4. coppersmom

    coppersmom New Member

    Both of my girls have had issues with their anal sacs most of their lives. Until recently that is. They only had them expressed when they were having a problem though. I think I did it wrong once and now if I even try to do Zoey's, she gets really ugly and snaps at me. But she also had one abcess once so she's really sensitive there...BTW, why do they sometimes abcess?
  5. DeLaUK

    DeLaUK New Member

    They usually abscess when they become impacted, as to what causes the impaction, Ive seen it after a lot of diarrhea, but Ive heard it can also be related to diet and I wonder maybe genetics might play a part in it. But this is why I wonder why groomers are expressing them routinely (groomers that dont have the knowledge of what they could be dealing with or experience in doing it correctly), to be honest if any of my dogs that Ive had needed them expressing and I couldnt do it myself I would have the vet do it as opposed to a groomer.
    The abscess can rupture and this is whats happened on a few occasions when a groomer or the client has rushed the dog in, anal sacs were being expressed and have ruptured. I assume from any dogs reaction to it its extremely painful.
  6. nern

    nern New Member

    Natalie has had anal gland issues in the past but she does'nt go to the groomer. My vet exprssed them but only because she was having a problem. Sebastians groomer routinely expresses the dogs anal glands...I usually request upon making his appointments that she does'nt do it since he does'nt seem to have any problems with them.
  7. coppersmom

    coppersmom New Member

    Oh yeah, Zoey was in extreme pain when her abcess ruptured. We thought her pain was from her disc issues and were treating that. When I noticed a dark dishcharge from her hiney, it was too late and she had to be "admitted" for irrigation. I think and hope that my girls' anal sac problems are better now since I've switched foods. I know that a harder stool helps with those problems, so I am constantly watching for that.

    I'll have to ask Mom if her Poms' groomer expresses them. They've never had any problems.
  8. lil96

    lil96 New Member

    Ughhh!! I am so glad none of my dogs ever had an anal gland problem!! It jsut seems so icky, but I guess I'd get it done by a vet if need be done. But I do hear about anal glands problems more often in the last few years than I ever did before. It has made me wonder if it is like an addiction, if you don't ever have it you are ok, but once you get it you need it (although they are dogs who do need it).
  9. seaecho

    seaecho New Member

    Its almost always the toy breeds that need it done routinely, but some larger dogs will also have problems. Its just much more common with the toys. My groomer friend also routinely expresses anals, and she doesn't charge extra for it. It just comes as part of the grooming. Its true that it has to be done gently by someone who knows what they are doing. Not all dogs can be expressed on the outside - some need it done internally (a finger stuck up there, as gross as it sounds). Some dogs are much easier to express than others. Some seem uncomfortable with the procedure (painful) and others don't seem to mind. If my Pugs are scooting or trying to lick down there, I check to see if the anals are full or nearly so. Then I will express them. Otherwise, I don't mess with them.

  10. lil96

    lil96 New Member

    That is odd bc I have only known big dogs who needed it done?
  11. Shineillusion

    Shineillusion New Member

    I guess I'm the odd groomer. I don't routinely express anal glands. I do check them, and if they seem full, and if they express easily and with a minimum of pressure, I'll express them. But this isn't the norm for me. If the glands can't be expressed easily, if they seem to cause the dog pain or if the area is swollen and warm, I suggest the owner take the dog to their vet.

    My personal observations on which dogs seem to require expressing is dogs who have had their tails docked, no matter what size the dog is, are more likely to require expressing.

    Why do so many groomers express anal glands routinely? I don't really know. It's become part of the industries standard and most grooming schools do teach it. IMO, they shouldn't. If they want to teach the technique, and if they teach the student how to assess the situation, that's one thing. But I don't think they should teach it as a part of the normal routine.

    Another concideration too; if the anal glands are expressed during a groom and it's included in the grooming fee, it's usually concidered a grooming procedure. If the groomer is charging an additional fee, or if they're expressing anal glands and it's NOT part of a groom, they could be accused of practicing medicine without a license. I know, it doesn't make a lot of sense. But it's happened in the past. It all depends on state laws.
  12. DeLaUK

    DeLaUK New Member

    Thanks shine, I wish every groomer had your attitude on this.
  13. elizavixen

    elizavixen New Member

    Well...I don't bring my dog to a groomer for a reason similar to this. I don't mind them shampooing my dog or something but the other things they may do make me nervous. Such as expressing the anal glands. And nail clipping. It may sound stupid to some but I have heard of things going wrong and I am just very protective of who touches my dogs.

    Anyways, as far as the anal glands issue. I never even heard of it until about a year ago. My older St. Bernard had this smell, really really bad smell and the vet said it could be her anal glands so he expressed them. It did help with the smell. That was the only reason I ever did it and so far has been my only experience with anal glands. Just figured I'd give my input.
  14. karma

    karma New Member

    I'm a groomer and I NEVER express anal glands. I'm just not comfortable with doing it, so I tell people if they ask me to, to see their vet. The vast majority are respectful of my position. I agree that if something were to go wrong I could be accused of practicing veterinary procedures.

    I also don't think it should be routinely done. From my understanding, that was more "old school" and now it's being taught they should only be expressed when necessary. I've taken dogs to vets for years for various things and the vets I've used never ROUTINELY expressed glands; only if needed. Why should groomers?

    I don't even do my own dogs; although my vet kind of picks on me for it. She once even showed me how to do them internally. Now, if I'm not comfortable with external expression I'm certainly not doing THAT.

    (On the other hand, my vet is NOT allowed to clip my dogs' toenails. She's a great vet; however when it comes to nails she doesn't know what she's doing and butchers the poor things every time.)
  15. DeLaUK

    DeLaUK New Member

    Most vets Ive worked with 'try really hard to teach' the techs how to express anals, most techs I know will fake it and say they 'cant do it' or 'thats the vets job'.....personally Id rather deal with a maggot dog than anal glands :shock:
    Makes me wonder why so many groomers seem to have a thing about expressing them.
  16. coppersmom

    coppersmom New Member

    I don't like my vet to do my dogs' nails either. They always bleed but not when I take them to a groomer and pay 1/3 of what he charges. 'Sup with that anyway?
  17. DeLaUK

    DeLaUK New Member

    Its not always easy to clip the nails, some dogs dont mind so much but others.....Ive seen some that are so bad that they need sedating. A dog I had years ago was fine having his nails clipped, I did them myself, he never so much as flinched but he caught one on something outside and tore it....he was like a different dog with his nails after that.
    my moms dog was probably the worst Ive ever seen for it, she was a little Boston mix, absolute sweetheart but she was so terrified of the clippers that the vet would actually hook her up to an EKG machine and have his steth on her while my mom held her and a tech clipped them, I ended up teaching my mom how to just file them down which was a bit better although she would only do one or 2 nails a day.....thats extreme though I think.
  18. Shineillusion

    Shineillusion New Member

    To be honest, I think properly grooming a nail is an art form even most groomers don't master. I know a LOT of other groomers, and the only ones who can do justice to a nail are the ones who also show their own dogs. And all of them use a grinder, not clippers.

    Sorry folks, you just can't get the nail done right with clippers. With a grinder, you can get closer to the quick without bleeding it. You can also properly shape the tip of the nail. It should look like a worn crayon, with the quick slightly longer in the middle. That way, pressure is applied to the quick whenever the dog walks, forcing it to recede. And best of all, there are no sharp edges to scratch you or get caught in the carpet.
  19. DeLaUK

    DeLaUK New Member

    a grinder? thats a dremel ? (I think) I like them but the noise sometimes freaks dogs out, but yes I agree, the quicks dont get cut and as long as the dog is okay with the moise and vibration Id much prefer to use one of them than clippers. If I could I used to file the nails after just tipping them....Im not a nail expert though.
  20. coppersmom

    coppersmom New Member

    I would LOVE to grind my dogs' nails--I hate those blunt, scratchy edges. My Zoey is like you described...almost needs sedating to clip them. She writhers and squeals and I have to hold her in a bear hug. In between all of this, she gives everyone she can reach kisses! Brie is a snapper, so she gets muzzled and does much better. The last time, we didn't even muzzle her but I think she loves that groomer. Which is a really big statement for Brie!

    I just find it ironic that my vet does these complicated surgery but can't seem to clip toenails. Maybe it's like asking Picasso do a paint by number??

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