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Opinons on Vet's diagnosis of anal gland problems

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone. I'm a new member here, and hoping for some feedback on our vet's diagnosis for an anal gland problem I'm having with our 4 year old tabby.

We adopted Munchkin last May from the SPCA, and in November she had an anal gland infection which we treated expressing them, antibiotics and a change in food to Hill's Feline R/D (at the time, the vet suspected Munchkin wasn't getting enough fibre in her diet). Also, when we adopted her she was 14.5 lbs, another possible cause according to the vet, but now she's down to almost 12 lbs. Everything was good until 3 weeks ago, when she had another bout with unusually full anal glands, which we had expressed again.

The vet saw her again last week but only one gland was half full so she left it alone to see how it would be in another week. Yesterday was that follow up appointment, but we had to see a different vet. He looked at her teeth first, and expressed the glands even though they weren't very full. He then told me that she had tartar on her back teeth, and said that she most likely had a dental infection that was infecting her anal glands when she licked her behind. So, he prescribed 50mg of Antirobe capsules twice daily for 14 days, and said he'd get me an estimate for the teeth cleaning.

We don't brush her teeth at home because after weeks of trying when we first adoppted her, she started to run away from us every time she saw us and we hated that, so I understand that having her teeth cleaned professionaly is going to be necessary during the course of her life, but does it seem possible to anyone here that this could be the cause of Munchkin's anal gland problem? Also, is it normal to diagnose a dental infection just by a quick look at her teeth? I don't like giving my cats antibiotics unless absolutely necessary as they often upset their stomachs. I am planning to have her seen by another vet for a second opinion, but I'd also appreciate any of your thoughts on this one.

post #2 of 6
I am not familiar with anal gland problems, but I do believe a vet can diagnose a dental infection by a quick look at her teeth. I'm glad you're taking her for a second opinion. Given her on-going bout with anal gland problems, this is probably a good idea anyway.

Do you give your kitty any anti-tartar treats? We don't brush our kitties' teeth either. We figure we torture them enough with baths (I'm allergic) and claw-clipping. But our gang is only two, and we're going to start regular annual teeth-cleaning. I've heard too many horror stories about older cats' teeth to risk it.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

I agree with you 100% about regular cleanings. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way how dental problems affect older cats. Last year we were going to have our 9 year old cat's teeth done, because she had an infected tooth, but they discovered she had a heart murmur and so they wouldn't put her under anesthesia. Sadly, 3 months later she died from anemia probably due to the heart murmur. Since then, I've done a lot of research, and can't help feeling that it was the dental infection that caused the heart murmur in the first place. So, now we've decided to have regular cleanings, as often as the vet recommends, for Munchkin and our 11 year old cat Cuddles.

We've never tried anti-tartar treats. So thanks for the tip! I'm definately going to try them. Would you be able to recommend the brand you use? I don't recall ever seeing any anti-tartar treats for cats.

post #4 of 6
One of our very experience members, hissy, feeds her cat chicken wing bones once a month. You might consider PMing her to ask which wing bones - I'd always heard they were dangerous due to splintering. ????

You can check out the pet isle in the supermarket - there are all kinds of tartar control treats there. There are high-end products available in "high-end" pet stores. And by "high-end" products, I mean stuff that is nutritionally better for cats than the Whiskas or Friskies stuff. I don't recall the brand, but there were some really advanced things - one was some fish-flavored thing, the size of the end of my index-finger, with a "net-like" wrapper around it. It looked like it would work really well, but none of our cats liked it. Something they won't eat won't work! It was in the isle of the pet store where they carry toothbrushes and stuff for teeth, not in the treats section.

Hope that helps!
post #5 of 6
All of the dental advise you have gotten is great. I just wanted to touch on the anal glands. It's VERY unlikely that the infection was caused by a dental infection. Generally if a cat or dog has a problem with their anal sacs being expressed when they go to the bathroom, the build up of excess fluid will cause the problem. Most cats with this problem need to go to the vet (or learn how to do it at home) to have their anal glands expressed. In extreme cases, they remove the anal sacs.
post #6 of 6
A dental "chew" my cats love (even my pickey boy who doesn't like any treats) is the C.E.T. dental chews, chicken flavour (I'm sure they'd love fish flavour more, but it was out of stock when I was buying them)

I'm lazy as can be about actually brushing my boys' teeth, and my two older fellows have had to have their teeth cleaned by the vet twice now (abotu 3 or 4 years between the two times, and their teeth weren't actually that bad the 2nd time, I just wanted to take advantage of my employee discount before I moved my boys to far away )

A tooth infection can be seen just in a regular exam - though the extent of the infection is usually only seen once the cat is under for the scaling. I've also heard bad teeth can lead to heart murmurs (it was one of the things my new vet looked at when she heard the murmur of Charlie's heart - which we never before knew he had!! :O)

As for the anal glands... I've never heard of bad teeth causing anal gland infections... Cats tongues have bacteria on them to begin with! It's not uncommon for impacted anal glands to be a recurring problem in dogs or cats (though, thankfully, more common in dogs!!) You may find you'll have to figure out your cat's pattern and regular get the glands expressed. One client we had brought her cat in every 6 months, and one client brought her dog in almost once a month. The vet I worked for likes to have the animal back in 6 months, unless symptoms are revisited, and work up or down from there. A few older animal clients just have their glands expressed as part of their annual physical. As Sandia said, if there's an infection, is usualy because the glands have been left impacted too long.
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