Not every medical advance goes from humans to animals; heres the story of one that went the other way.
The Nobel Prize in Medicine is awarded for advances in human health. This year’s winners waited a long time for recognition; if dogs could vote, it would never have taken so long. The drug that saved generations of their lives went on to fight a major cause of human suffering.
Back in the 70s a group of researchers were looking for new treatments for parasitic diseases of animals. They isolated a bacterium from near a Japanese golf course which had a powerful effect on worms without harming the host animal.
Dogs have two grape-sized glands just inside the anus, which commonly get overfull and impacted. Dogs clearly find this very uncomfortable, especially when the glands get infected.
As many scooting dogs have impacted anal glands AND itchy skin, it’s sometimes very hard to tell these two apart. The treatment is for the vet to empty both glands, which can be quite tricky. Let’s just say it’s a job for gloves.
Diarrhoea is just the name for abnormally watery or soft faeces. When this happens for more than a few days, the excess moisture causes a rash to form. It can get quite severe, like a bad nappy rash, if not dealt with quickly. A dog will usually rub this on the ground.
Dogs on a stable diet should have consistently formed stools. If this isn’t the case, read our guide to diarrhoea in dogs and contact your vet. Hair on the bottom, like in Poodles, makes any soft faeces more likely to cause irritation.
4. Perivulval Dermatitis
This is really just a special case of itchy skin that happens to female dogs. Risk factors include allergies, obesity and having a recessed juvenile vulva. If weight control and skin care don’t fix the problem, we sometimes perform minor vulvoplasty surgery to create better ventilation.
When we see a puppy at risk, we will recommend deferring desexing (neutering) until after one season.
5. Just Because They Like To
As dog owners know, all dogs scoot a bit. If it’s just once every week or two, it’s probably normal, especially after having a poo or when Aunt Doris is visiting.
I’ve added in worms just in case I’m wrong. Besides, it’s never a bad idea to worm a dog but most dogs with worms have no symptoms at all. If worms fascinate you as much as they do us, visit our page on the worms of dogs. There are pictures too!
As for itchy bottoms, I think this myth comes from humans getting itchy bottoms from worms. Dogs don’t have a worm like our pinworm.
Horses do however, so if you see a horse scooting …
Have something to add? Comments are welcome below and will appear within 24 hours of lodging. By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. These help topics are from a series regularly posted on email and Twitter. Subscribe via email here to never miss a story! The information provided here is not intended to be used as a substitute for going to the vet. If your pet is unwell, please seek veterinary attention.
Pets are generally good for your health, both physical and mental. If pets were dangerous to be around, I suspect we wouldn’t have got so in love with them in the first place. But there are a few diseases you should know about just to be sure…