Anal Infection (Perianal Fistula, Anal Furunculosis) is a progressive disease describing the condition of a chronic lesion around the anus, triggered by pathogenic bacteria or fungi, but caused by a weakened immune system (to fight off those bacteria and fungi).
Note that Anal Infection is not the same as "anal gland" or "anal sac" problems, which describes the condition of an inflammation in or around the anal glands due to a lack of natural evacuation of accumulated toxins.
The anal glands are one of the body's "detox chambers" that occasionally naturally evacuate excessive toxin levels (those toxins that the body can expel, many it cannot). This is why it can only be considered foolish when ordinary allopathic vets recommend dog owners to pay them to remove the anal glands during surgery!
When the anal glands no longer can evacuate naturally - either because they have been foolishly surgically removed, or because of an avalanche of toxins in industrial pet "food", or because ill-advised dog owners manually express the glands - then this can cause an inflammation in the anal area that is different from the Anal Infections discussed here.
Anal Infections can form deep and draining ulcers that can make this condition painful and tough to heal. Conversely, the inflammation from excessive toxin build-up causes itching and is easy to heal:
- Let the anal glands do their job naturally
- and don't cause an avalanche of toxin build-up by feeding industrial crap (some uninformed call it "pet food") and/or by administering ill-advised lab medicaments.
Who Suffers Anal Infections
Unfortunately, German Shepherds are one of the main breeds to suffer Anal Infections (one study accounted for 84% of the dogs diagnosed). To some this seems to suggest that Anal Infections are an inherited defect.
However, the larger number of glands in the perianal area when compared to other breeds, and the way the tail is set and carried, both promote growth of bacteria and fungi. So indeed this may be the only reason for the increased incidence of Anal Infections among German Shepherds.
Primarily male German Shepherds are affected, and mostly between the age of 5 to 8 years.
While most GSDs easily cope with this greater pathogenic attack, ie they don't suffer Anal Infections, dogs with a particularly weak immune system can contract Anal Infections.
- frequent chewing or licking the perianal area
- scooting the anal area over the ground
- perianal ulcers or bleeding or red or black spots
- foul-smelling discharge in the perianal area
- pain when lifting the tail
- clearly different potty routine
- stool looks clearly different
- losing appetite
- losing weight
- change in behavior because of discomfort or pain
Preventing Anal Infections
The warm, moist area around the anus and under the tail make an excellent environment for bacteria and fungi to multiply up to the point of an Anal Infection if the immune system is too weak to fight off the pathogens.
As already mentioned above, only dogs with a weakened immune system will develop Anal Infections, while healthy dogs easily cope with an abundance of pathogenic attacks (else dogs wouldn't even exist today).
Again, a weak immune system is caused by:
- feeding toxic industrial crap "pet food"
- administering ill-advised lab medicaments, foremost immunosuppressants (steroids, NSAIDs, etc)
- over-vaccinating or wrongly vaccinating
- insecticides in flea and tick spot-ons
- environmental intoxication from carpet adhesives, floor cleaning detergents, yard pesticides, etc.
Likely in this very order. So make sure you avoid all that, in order to prevent Anal Infections (and so much more).
In addition, avoid interfering with the function of the anal glands as one of the body's "detox chambers": Do not have them surgically removed, and do not manually express them. Either of that can lead to inflammation which then will attract many more bacteria and fungi and so can cause an Anal Infection too.
Once started, Anal Infections almost always lead to chronic conditions, not least because ordinary allopathic vets treat them wrongly:
- with ineffective "broad-spectrum" antibiotics
- and/or with the "steroid-sparing" Cyclosporine or the immunosuppressive corticosteroid Prednisolone.
So make sure you avoid ordinary allopathic vets as well.
Be aware that a well-nurtured and not intoxicated canine or human organism does not get sick easily, no matter how many pathogenic attacks the body has to resist!
Evolution made dogs even more resilient than people: historically the dog gene pool adapted/improved twice yearly, the human gene pool only once every 20+ years.
Other than that, if you worry too much that your dog might contract an Anal Infection, you may regularly cleanse the anus area with a wipe and strong antiseptic spray. But then make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with an antiseptic lotion before you attend to your dog's anus, and afterwards again.
Speaking of this, a funny note: We once had a Scottish neighbor, she said she wipes her dog's anus after every walk. But then she said she takes her dog in the bed. Thus, at least her strict anus cleansing regiment was a way to somewhat limit her own infection risk.
Treating Anal Infections
Once an Anal Infection occurs, treatment may need to be repeated often, as with all chronic infections. Note that an infection can only become chronic if a bodily disorder facilitates repeated infection.
Thus real cure of Anal Infections requires that you cure the underlying disorder first. This disorder is the weakened immune system, weakened by one or more of the factors mentioned above.
If instead you choose to visit an ordinary allopathic vet, treatment of your dog's Anal Infection will follow their standard blanket treatment. That standard treatment typically looks like this:
- first visit: ineffective "broad-spectrum" antibiotics (CASH)
- second visit: immunosuppressive drugs like Cyclosporine or the steroid Prednisolone (More CASH)
- third visit: they recommend surgical removal of the anal glands! (Holiday CASH)
Now just see above again why each and every of these treatment attempts is foolish and harmful.
After you have addressed the underlying immune system disorder the way laid out above, your further home treatment should look like this:
- Spray antiseptic wound wash on a lint-free clean cloth and move from the outer yet seemingly unaffected areas to the inner clearly affected area in one straight line. Then use a new piece of cloth and repeat, now moving on a different imaginary straight line. Repeat until you've covered the 360 degrees around and towards the anus. The direction of the movements must be straight lines, towards the anus. And use a new piece of cloth each time. Both is critical! Do not spread the bacteria from the clearly more affected area to the yet seemingly unaffected areas!
- After this cleaning ritual, spray the antiseptic wound wash a final time directly around the dog's anus area. Leave to dry. Do steps 1 and 2 three times a day. This is critical for bactericidal and fungicidal efficacy!
- Continue this daily treatment until at least one full week after the infection seems to have resolved. Again this is critical!
As you may not use the same piece of cloth twice, you will need to use many pieces of lint-free cloth per cleansing session, hence a huge number of cloths over a three-week treatment period, yes.
After each session (three times a day), burn the bunch of cloths you used or dispose of them in a separate sealed bin bag. Do not wash and reuse or deposit them where a dog may nuzzle.
Wash your hands thoroughly before and after each treatment with an antiseptic lotion.
Dog owners who overlook any of the many above points tend to argue "nothing helps". But this does help if you precisely follow the suggested treatment, ie including that you address the underlying immune system disorder first.
The only exception where the above treatment plan would not work, and I do not know of any such case, is where:
- the dog's immune system has been weakened so much that it cannot recover
- and the particular bacteria or fungi on the dog's anus are chlorhexidine-gluconate resistant (the active ingredient in Synergy Lab's antiseptic).
Such resistance is unknown, hence why I can confidently say the above home treatment protocol does provide cure.
A final note: It should be obvious that a dog with an Anal Infection shouldn't be allowed on your bed or the couch. Unless you have just cleansed the anus area with a strong antiseptic spray, the dog's anus area will be populated with nasty bacteria all the time, not just during an Anal Infection.