Posts filed under ‘Vet visit’

Anal gland expression

Hi everybody, we cover EVERYTHING on Boogie’s blog and today’s post is about anal gland expression. Warning: this may gross you out.

Boogie is the first dog that I have known who needs to have his anal glands squeezed/emptied/expressed by a human on a regular basis. It’s, literally, a pain in the ass.

I know that it’s time for a vet visit when I smell that familiar stinky fishy odor coming from his butt, when I see him obsessively licking his butt or dragging it on my rug (ew). This happens every few weeks. It is said that some dogs can empty their own glands when they do a poop, but others need to have this done for them.


According to this blog post (and I have heard this theory before), it could be a matter of feeding the right food with enough fiber. Boogie eats really well and has firm poops. I have also tried adding extra fiber to Boogie’s diet, assuming that harder poops = natural pressure on the anal glands, alas … this made no difference.

I know some vets charge for anal gland expression and the costs could add up. Thankfully the clinic that we go to does it for free… but there is a long wait to see the Dr. and the simple 2-second task of squeezing Boogie’s glands sucks several hours out of my day.

A year ago, I asked Dr. R to show me how to do it myself, at home. He made it look so easy. I also watched several YouTube videos.They made it look so easy too.

So I put on some latex gloves and attempted to express Boogie’s glands myself. It was NOT EASY!

1. I couldn’t feel the anal glands. I tried the 4 c’clock and 8 o’clock positions; I felt all around the anal opening… Seriously, I could not feel anything! Nothing at all. No pea-sized sacs, nothing.
2. I even stuck my fingers inside his butt (with gloves on of course!) – NOTHING. I couldn’t feel anything to squeeze.
3. With my thumb and forefinger around Boogie’s butthole… I squeezed upwards, downwards, inwards,… I tried all kinds of squeezing, used all kinds of pressure… nothing came out.

That was about 2 months ago. I gave up and took Boogie in to see Dr. R who had the stinky fluid squirting out of Boogie’s butt with ONE precision squeeze.

Last week I brought the subject up again, told Dr. R that I had trouble doing it myself at home. He showed me again but honestly, I couldn’t see what he did differently.It looked the same as what I did.

Dr. R’s advice: “Just keep practicing”.

Two nights ago, sitting on the couch with the pumpkinhead on my lap, I caught a strong whiff of that familiar stinky fishy odor. What the heck… we only had his glands expressed ONE WEEK AGO! I carried the Boogs to the bathtub, grabbed some toilet paper and once again, tried to locate his anal glands. NOTHING. I couldn’t find them. (sigh) Boogie was so patient with me. He stood there calmly, head turned in my direction … waiting, waiting.. Three minutes later I was still squeezing and squeezing (Poor Boogie)… nothing came out.

I threw down the toilet paper and used both hands… squeezing inwards on either side of his butthole. A pale brownish fluid oozed out of his butt. OMG. We have a breakthrough! I grabbed the toilet paper and wiped it off.

Could I do this again? I have no idea. I know now to use two hands but I think I fluked it…

Do any of you do anal gland expression at home? Did you get it right the first time? I am open to advice!

P.S. No, I am not going to illustrate this one šŸ™‚

March 24, 2010 at 5:43 am 18 comments

Back from the vet – more skin stuff

Over a week ago, Boogie dragged himself around on the grass and gave himself a rashy red belly. The rashes didn’t go away even after a bath and neosporin so today we were at the vet and unfortunately, Dr. R doesn’t know what exactly the problem is. There are red welts on Boogie’s belly and inner thighs and he has been licking them incessantly. Some of the welts have turned into dry sores… crusty and peeling. Dr. R said that it is some sort of bacterial infection, possibly Staph (like last time) or allergies. He prescribed some cephalexin (to cure the staph infection), and I am to watch for signs of improvement. If by next week the Boogs is still itchy, then we need to return for allergy meds.

The clinic that Boogie goes to is a small place and always insanely busy so we waited around for a LONG time (over 1 hour!!!) to see Dr. R.

When we arrived there were 3 dogs in the shoebox-sized waiting room (yikes) but Boogie stayed close to me and was OK. BoogieĀ  is so used to being in this room with other dogs around that it’s not that big a deal…

There was a German Shepherd lying down in the far corner of the room who clearly was not interested in interacting with any dogs…. Boogie was curious, but not threatened at all.

A very regal Doberman sat next to us. Boogie sniffed her and got into playbow position several times… which got him a lot of attention from everyone in the waiting room – “Oh how cute! Look, he wants to play!” But the Doberman GROWLED at Boogie so I led him away. Not that the vet waiting room is an appropriate place for play anyway.

Photos below (because it was so boring just sitting around)

Someone said to me: You should take a photo of him in front of that black and white door…

Boogie: Please, can we go home now?

And while we were waiting for Dr. R to return with the cytology results…

Please please please can we go home now?

Please, mom?

Vet appointment was at 2.30pm. We didn’t get out of there until 5.00pm. And I will have to return again this week because they were out of Comfortis (flea meds) today.

March 16, 2010 at 1:21 am 12 comments

Boogie’s New Year Resolutions

Via Pawluxury: If your pet could speak, what would his/her resolution be?


Boogie says:

  1. I will train my parents to sit on the couch and throw my ball whenever I want. (I am getting better at this)
  2. I will train my mom to give me treats during walks. (She is responding well)
  3. I will train my parents to chase me under the coffee table. (They are a little slow… we’ll work on this one)
  4. I will establish that the middle of the bed (under the covers) is my spot.
  5. I will find those squirrels.
  6. I will claim the Snuggie.

GOOD NEWS – Boogie’s thyroid panel results are in from the vet’s, and he is fine and normal! No hyperthyroidism or anything unusual! The Boogs is just a NORMAL neurotic little dog. (yay)

December 30, 2009 at 7:04 pm Leave a comment

On Thyroid-related behavior issues

This is something I learned only recently and today Boogie had his blood taken for a Thyroid test. We will get the results on Saturday. Fingers tightly crossed.

*UPDATE: The vet hasn’t received all the results yet. Still waiting….

It has been said that aggression issues (especially “aberrant aggression”, fear of strangers etc.)Ā  can be linked to thyroid issues and that medication can help in addition to behavior modification. Sometimes, medication eliminates all the symptoms and a fearful/anxious/aggressive dog becomes friendly again. (wow. Sounds too good to be true?)

Some links:

The number of animals showing various types of aberrant behavior in these three classical modes (aggression, extreme shyness or seizure-like activity) has been increasing in frequency over the last decade. Consequently, we began to examine these animals by using the stepwise diagnostic approach outlined above [ Complete history; clinical examination; neurological work-up; routine laboratory testing of CBC, blood chemistry and thyroid profiles, urinalysis, fecal exam and x-ray; additional specific laboratory tests as indicated; examination of cerebral spinal fluid; more specialized neurological examinations). We were surprised to find that in many cases studied, significant abnormalities were found in the thyroid profile.

Boogie doesn’t show any of the usual symptoms of thyroid disease like ADD, lethargy and weight gain, but we know he has aggression issues and Dr. R said that he has recurring skin problems and ear infections… and while allergies may be the primary cause of these infections, we can’t rule out low thyroid levels.

We’ll wait and see…

December 18, 2009 at 12:23 am Leave a comment

Staph :(

Boogie in Elysian Park. DISCLAIMER: this is a very old photo. Boogie no longer wears one of these prong collars. I am now training him 100% with positive reinforcement. No physical punishments.

Home from the vet.

Dr. R. took some skin and hair samples but we won’t have definite results for at least another 10 days. However, he doesn’t think it’s mites or ringworm. It is most likely a secondary Staph Infection caused by allergies. Based on his knowledge of Boogie’s symptoms and how Boogie responded to various meds, he believes the allergies to be related to the environment or the season rather than to food. He prescribed oral antibiotics (Cephalexin) for at least 2 weeks.

According to this long list of Dog Allergies , Staph falls under the “Bacteria Allergy” category:

A dog’s skin normally harbors Staph (Staphylococcus) bacteria. If the skin is normal and the dog’s immune system is normal, Staph causes no problems. Your dog is more likely to develop a bacteria allergy if it is in other ways unhealthy, or if it has other allergies.

Signs of a bacteria dog allergy include hair loss that is often round and 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter, red blotches on the skin, and possibly the development of pus pockets filled with fluid.

Common veterinarian practice is to do a blood test, prescribe the Antibiotic Cephalexin and the immune stimulant shots of ImmunoRegulin.Corticosteroid Cream, or a Steroid Drug, or a NSAID. Veterinarians will also instruct you to give your dog baths with a Medicated Shampoo.

The lesions will usually clear with Antibiotics but return as soon as the antibiotics are discontinued. With continued use of antibiotics, dogs become resistant to the antibiotics, and the Staph-allergic dog has recurrent infections.


Sounds kinda depressing. Poor little Boogie Monster.

Here is another webpage I googled about Staph dermatitis in dogs: http://www.sniksnak.com/doghealth/staph.html

If you have any experience with this, please share!

*UPDATE: Boogie’s skin is looking MUCH better! After 3 weeks of antibiotics, his hair hasn’t grown back yet, but Dr. R said that this would take some time. Boogie has to continue taking Cephalexin for another 3 weeks.

October 27, 2009 at 12:00 am 68 comments

Allergies – pink face.

The Boogs has a rash on his face – it’s the same one that he has had all summer – pink, raw, itchy, weepy skin in between the folds of his face. I give Boogie skin+coat supplements and have applied hydrocortisone cream, neosporin, zinc oxide, baking soda (it’s supposed to relieve itchiness), nu-stock…… I can’t tell if any of these work because when I’m not watching, Boogie rubs the stuff off his face onto his bed, the couch, or the carpet…

The bald patches on his face look worse at night – really red and sometimes bloody. And I can’t see the skin healing and the fur growing back in a hurry because the area is always damp from tear stains.

Dr R. gave him a cortisone shot about 1-2 months ago and that seemed to help A LOT. Boogie stopped scratching and his face started to heal. This steroid medication lasted about 2 weeks and then his face looked really bad again. When we went back to the vet yesterday for another cortisone shot, Dr R. didn’t think it was such a good idea as repeated cortisone shots can bring about horrible side effects including liver damage. (Like Prednisone) So we came home instead with some Panalog cream.

A few new routines:

  • I have started Boogie on Comfortis – an oral anti-flea med, instead of Frontline/Advantage.The vet tech warned that there may be some vomitting at first if he is not used to this…
  • I am introducing HALO pet food to Boogie’s diet and ordered an Intro Kit. I don’t know yet if I will do a full switch where I will feed exclusively Halo… I read that mixing up his diet – feeding a variety of proteins will prevent the possibility of developing an allergy to a single protein. (He has been eating THK turkey all year)
  • My complimentary Thankdog Bootcamp classes have ended but I might be enrolling in a program of maybe 2 or 3 classes a week. This is great discipline for me and good obedience practice for Boogie. He still hates the wet grass and protests like nobody’s business but well, what can ya do….The amazing thing is that at home and on our walks – he understands and obeys! Well, maybe only 60% of the time but hey, that’s a HUGE improvement.

October 2, 2009 at 4:28 pm 1 comment

Back to Bootcamp

DISCLAIMER: This blog post was written in 2009. We no longer do Obedience Training using “dominance”-based methods. We no longer use collar corrections. These methods made Boogie MORE TENSE, MORE TRIGGERED and more prone to aggressive behaviors. We switched over toĀ reward-based methodsĀ in February 2010 and saw improvements.Ā 

It has been a long time since the last blog post… We went to the vet today and the Boogs is suffering from summer allergies. We had the same problem last summer – he chewed and chewed on himself until this tail and thighs were full of bald pink spots. This summer, things look much worse because the raw pink spots are on his face… and his ears are also raw, crusty, scabby and bleeding. I told Dr Reina that I had tried everything including Benadryl. Should I make Boogie wear a cone to prevent further rubbing and scratching?

Dr Reina: “You can put the cone on, but he will still be itching and in agony.”

So, he gave Boogie a shot of cortisone and some ointment for his ears… we will see if there is any improvement this week. I hope his face and ears will heal. If Boogie continues to scratch then I am to give him cortisone pills.Ā  I love a long endless Summer but for Boogie’s sake, I can’t wait for it to end.

So, back onto the training stuff. To recap, Boogie started Obedience Training a few months ago and we got as far as Lesson 1 when our trainer Jill suddenly fractured her hip and was out of action. I said I would prefer to put lessons on hold until Jill is healed… and now, a couple of months later, Jill is back on both her feet and ready to move onto Lesson 2.

Just one problem – Wes and I had slackened off on the training rules and most of what we achieved in Lesson 1 has gone out the window. Oops.

Boogie’s Progress:

HEEL – good with sprenger collar. Otherwise, nope.
SIT – good, most of the time.
STAY – er… sometimes
DOWN – only with treat. No treat, no down.
GO TO YOUR PLACE – er.. nope. We let Boogie off-leash and he has been free-roaming the apartment and jumping freely up and down furniture. We lost this one.
CRATING – He now sleeps in bed but I still crate him when I go out. Jill said it’s ok for him to sleep in our bed as long as he doesn’t hate his crate. (whew!)

Jill insists that we get Lesson 1 down pat (especially the ‘Down’ command) because Lesson 2 builds on stuff that we should have mastered in Lesson 1… so, sigh… it’s back to the beginning we go.

I pulled out my ThankDogTraining Lesson One notes today – OMG there are 8 pages. In an attempt to motivate myself and have all this stuff sink in once and for all, I decided to draw up a summary of the Lesson One rules and notes… Can you tell that I am trying very hard to make this fun for Wes and myself?


I can tell you that we definitely have broken all the golden rules…

Here we go again.

August 11, 2009 at 2:22 am 4 comments

Boogie in da crate

Posted Date: : May 5, 2009 1:14 AM

How do you stop a boston terrier with a sprained paw from doing the BT500 around your apartment, running around and jumping up and down furniture?

Much to Boogie’s disappointment we haven’t been throwing the ball this past week; we want to make him rest his paw. This however, doesn’t stop him from running around anyway. The WILL TO PLAY is strong.

According to the vet, I should crate him…

I spoke to Jill (trainer) today to get some tips on crate-training. This is a new thing to me. The idea is to first lure him into the crate with treats. He has to willingly go in there himself, and then the next thing we do is shut the door and if he cries or protests, we are supposed to ignore him. If we respond by opening the door, he “wins” and knows that he can cry to get his way. I was nervous about the whole idea of shutting the door on him because from past experience when I once tried to put him in the bedroom, he cried and cried… Did not like that, at all.

“What if he won’t go inside the crate?” I asked Jill. Is it ok to pick him up and put him in there?” She said yes. And then shut the door for five minutes, and extend the timeframe slowly each time so that eventually he will comfortably stay in his crate for up to one hour.

Jill: “The best way to crate-train him is to have him sleep in there at night. Then he will learn to associate the crate with BED/place of rest”.

Hmmm. But I love having the Boogs in my bed…. I’ll try this latermaybe one night this week…

To my surprise, crating Boogie was EASIER than I expected! Perhaps because he could still see me through the bars of the crate? I gave Boogs a treat when he was inside the crate, then shut the door and gave him another treat and he went to sleep in there for about 20 minutes!

I even left the apartment for 10 minutes with Boogie still in the crate, and said to Eddie – “If he cries, don’t open the door”. And the little Boogs continued sleeping, was calm and patient. No protests at all. He didn’t even react when I returned home to my desk. Then I opened the door and out he ran to grab a toy.

Tomorrow – we try one hour.

Boogie is also still walking very well with the “heel” command and Sprenger collar correction. I am still amazed that he is not pulling. He even knows to wait for us to step outside the door first…

Another command that I taught Boogie not long ago is “Out”. (I say this when I want him to leave the kitchen when I am cooking) I no longer have to walk him out the door. I say “Boogie, OUT” and out he goes.

I am very proud of our Boogie Monster and very excited about our first official 2-hour training lesson this Saturday. I can’t wait to learn more things!

May 5, 2009 at 7:47 am Leave a comment

A new Boogie

Posted Date: : Apr 29, 2009 11:04 PM

This has been an emotionally-trying week.

On Sunday, Boogie sprained his right paw. I don’t know how he did it but I noticed that he was limping. He is still limping. I am taking him for shorter walks until his leg heals.

On Monday, Boogie swallowed a chicken bone. Wes accidentally dropped it during dinner and before he could reach down to pick it up, Boogie swooped upon it and ate it. In a mad panic I called the emergency vet and they said there is nothing they can do. I have to wait and see if he passes it out. I am now mixing Metamucil (dietary fiber) in his food to coat his stomach and buffer any sharp pieces. I am really worried. He hasn’t passed out the bone yet. I wonder if I need to take him in for x-rays. UPDATE: He has had x-rays – thank goodness, no bone stuck in tummy! But he has a sprained paw… Doctor says no exercise for 6 weeks. Yikes.

On Tuesday, Boogie bit one of the apartment property managers. He was off-leash and lying down on the porch with my neighbor when she walked by and he lunged (presumably to ‘protect his territory from a stranger’) It was horrible.

Today I received a notice that I must either get rid of Boogie or move out of my apartment. I feel pretty devastated at the moment.

I am doing everything I can to prove to the landlord that this will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. Boogie’s trainer (Jill) was over today and we started with some obedience training. She showed me how to use the Sprenger collar to make Boogie “heel”. It was an amazing eye-opening experience.

When Jamie (Jill’s sister/other trainer) corrected Boogie with the leash, pulling on the collar, he yelped the loudest most piercing shriek ever as if someone had stuck a knife up his butt. He kept yelping each time he recieved a correction. To any innocent bystander it would have appeared as if this dog was being tortured.

Jill: “You have felt the collar on your arm. It doesn’t hurt. He isn’t feeling any pain; this is just a new experience to him and he is being a drama queen. Don’t stop. If you give in, he will know that he can manipulate you with his yelping. It doesn’t hurt at all”.

[True. Boogie will also shriek and wail if you accidentally lift your leg or touch his butt when he is unawares. The yelping is no indicator of pain]

Alicia was with me, and Jamie showed us the proper way to hold the leash. Alicia took a photo so that I can refer to this and remember…

It’s a little weird having Boogie on my LEFT. I am so used to him walking on my RIGHT side. Jill said that the right side is traditionally the “Dominant” position (for the human) and it’s up to each trainer what they want to do. This is a good way to establish consistency in training. The leash crosses over the front of my body and with my left hand, I hold onto the leash underneath my right hand for corrections. With time and practice I should be able to use just one hand… the left.

Within 30 minutes, Boogie was heeling… walking calmly next to me. No pulling at all, which was absolutely amazing. He still pulled away from time to time (or refused to move) but I didn’t give in… I corrected him, kept moving… and he learned fast! When Wes came home tonight and took over the leash, Boogie walked BEAUTIFULLY next to him. He was such a GOOD BOY.

And the wonderful thing is that I can now walk the Boogs very slowly so as not aggravate his sprained leg. It’s amazing. He walks SLOWLY next to me. He has never done this. This is a dog that usually insists on walking really FAST and pulling me to wherever he wants to go, limp or no limp.

Anyway, I am really excited about the rest of the Obedience training (starts May 9th) and thrilled that Boogie learned so fast. He will be a much calmer and more relaxed dog from now on, now that he knows he doesn’t have to be the “boss”. He also did not lunge at any passing stranger dogs today. Amazing.

In the meantime please send some positive thoughts my way. I don’t want to be forced to relinquish this little dog (there is no way that I will do this) nor do I want to move out of my apartment.

P.S. Sadly I don’t know how to convince my Building Owner that Boogie will never bite anyone ever again. Unless I can get Cesar Millan onto Lyman Place (he actually said this to me!) will Boogie’s new Obedience training help my case?

April 29, 2009 at 7:46 am Leave a comment

Boogie is cone-free!

Posted Date: : Apr 20, 2009 1:25 AM

An update: Boogie’s stitches are now out and he is cone-free! I rescheduled his Obedience Training which will now start on Saturday 25th. next week.

Boogie also has a new plastic crate from Petco.

I haven’t started “crate-training” him yet…Ā  Right now, he only goes in there to fetch his toys or the occasional treat. He doesn’t stay in there for any longer than 2 seconds. He still prefers to sleep in the usual places and what I might have to do is remove all other doggie cushions and beds from the living room so that the crate will seem more enticing.… (?)

The goal: to put Boogie in the crate when I go out so that my trash stays put, the cushions don’t get destroyed, and random things don’t get moved around. (I still come home sometimes to find a shoe on the couch or some object, like a pen, in Boogie’s bed… not chewed at all, mind you. Just ‘relocated’)

I am also looking forward to expanding Boogie’s vocabulary. So far, he only knows SIT, COME HERE (though he doesn’t always respond to this), KISS, DO YOU WANT A TREAT?, WHERE’S YOUR BALL? and YOGURT.

One command that he really really needs to learn pronto isĀ  HEEL. šŸ™‚

April 20, 2009 at 1:45 am Leave a comment

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