- Lesson from Sugi: a swollen tail can indicate swollen anal glands
- Sugi says: “my bum is uncomfortable!”
One day we noticed that Sugi’s little tail had swollen up like a balloon! I wondered if he had an injury. Maybe he sprained or broke his tail in a fall. Sometimes the leash gets wrapped up and caught in his tail. I gave him homeopathic arnica which is good for injuries. The swelling went down a bit but didn’t go away.
I remembered that the weeks before the swollen tail, Sugi was biting at his rear end as though he had fleas, and scooting his bum along the carpet. We would comb him but didn’t find any evidence of fleas. I finally took him to one of our vets, Kathy Kramer who said he has inflamed anal glands! The anal glands, also called scent glands, are located close to the anus and they release scent indicating the individual’s identity. That’s why dogs sniff each other’s butts. When she diagnosed him by sticking a finger up his bum, Sugi screamed. She said his glands were very swollen and in danger of rupturing which could cause a lot of serious trouble. She suggested trying to reduce the inflammation by using a warm compress with epson salts. The recipe is:
- 1/4 cup epson salts
- 2 cups boiled water
- 2 cups cool tap water to cool it down
Soak a washcloth in the above mix. wring it out and place it on the bum under the tail for 30 seconds. It should not be hotter than what’s bearable on your own face. Keep re-soaking and placing the cloth on the area for 5 minutes, 3 to 4 times per day.
Sugi seemed to feel relief from this treatment and his tail reduced its swelling. In a few days we were able to bring him back to the vet and they “expressed” his anal glands. He didn’t suffer as much discomfort this time.
The swelling went down but didn’t go away, even though we continued with the warm compresses. Two weeks later, he started the rug scooting again and biting and licking at this tail. I read a bit more about homeopathic remedies in the Don Hamilton book “Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs” which indicated sulphur. I suggested this to our other vet, Michael Goldberg, he prescribed 3 does of 30K, one every 12 hours. It seems to be working. We’ve stopped the compress and his tail is going down. He’s stopped licking, scooting and biting….