In Lieu of the Vet

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My hope was that I could make this amusing. I’m not sure it’s really possible. Maybe once we’ve done it there will be something funny to say about it. Although, upon reflection, that might be a stretch.

The thing is, Maddie is showing all the signs that she needs to have her anal glands expressed. I’ll just let that thought sit there for a moment.


Maybe some of you that are reading this have done this in the past for your dogs and you’re thinking “No big deal.” But this will be our first time. Yes, we could take her to the veterinarian or maybe even a groomer to have it done. But in this time of social distancing, that seems ill advised. And I’m not even certain how many veterinarians in our area are actually open for business right now.

I found one excellent video made by an actual veterinarian that explained the process very nicely. The vet had what I’m assuming was a very well behaved dog that had been through the ordeal a number of times and knew what to expect because he stood there and took it like a champ. I am not expecting any such response from our little Maddie.

First the vet demonstrated the external method. This requires you only squeeze from the outside on both sides of the dog’s anus at the same time. A little bit of “stuff” came out. Then using the same dog, the vet demonstrated the internal method and a lot of “stuff” came out. Kind of suddenly and copiously.

This led both my husband and me to figure that the internal method was the better method if you really wanted to do a good job of it. But it requires that you stick your index finger into the dog’s anus and squeeze from the outside with your thumb. And you have to do this twice, once on each side.

My suspicion is that we might get one side done on Maddie and then not be able to do the other side because she will be wise to the whole thing. She’s quick on the uptake and has a phenomenal memory. So any future attempts would most likely be met with a great deal of resistance too.

When our cat’s glands needed to be expressed, the vet sedated him. I don’t think I would ever even consider trying this with our cat. Might be really painful. For us. Not for the cat.

My husband was quick to point out that I had the smaller index fingers and so I should be the one to do the actual deed while he holds Maddie still. Thank you so much.

The vet we watched was a man. The dog was a little larger than Maddie, but not by much. I could point this out to my husband, but I have a feeling it would not shift his opinion.

We have already put this off for a few days. I figure today will finally be the day.

Wish us luck.

Published by Dianne Lehmann

I'm a writer. But I'm also a wife and a mom to a couple of fur babies. You could call me a cook (but never a chef, I'm not that good) and provisioner as well. Laundress? Yeah. Probably. I design jewelry and I crochet. But mostly I love to write. I love words and how they sound. I love their meanings and origins. I love stringing them together. And of course, I love to read. Thinking about it just now, I realize that what I love most is life and the people around me with a special place set aside for my wonderful husband, our adorable dog and our inscrutable cat. It's the world and the people in it that fuels my writing. So thanks to you all for being the amazing beings that you are.

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