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Feline Illnesses And Symptoms: Ruptured Anal Gland
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Feline Illnesses And Symptoms: Ruptured Anal Gland

Back in early 2013, my indoor only female cat, Lucy started acting a little strange. Lucy would usually hang out in the family room with us when we were watching television. I started to notice she would be absent from the room on and off. It had probably been about 3 days.

Also, Lucy would usually be laying on either my daughter's bed or my bed if she wasn't laying on the couch in the family room. Now I noticed her laying on the floor by my daughter's bedroom door!? I kinda thought that was a little strange for Lucy but I shrugged it off. This went on for about 2 days. I now realized that when I did see her walk, it looked like she was limping in her back legs. I also observed Lucy not moving much, so she wasn't eating or drinking a whole lot either.

In addition to the other symptoms, I did catch Lucy attempting to jump up on the beds or the couch and she would fall back on to the floor! She has never had any problem jumping any where before. It was almost like she was becoming paralyzed in her back legs! I would go to pet her and when I would get to Lucy's backside, she would wince and whipper. I would stop! I thought all these symptoms were very abnormal for Lucy's normal behavior. The last symptom I picked up on was her just about non-stop cleaning her bottom area.

By this point, I knew something was wrong with Lucy! I had no idea what but I had decided after a week of watching her seem to be getting worse, I was taking her to the vet the next day! So I made the phone call to our vet and got a morning appointment the next day. She seemed some what lifeless - like she didn't really want to move. I was extremely concerned by this point! I couldn't wait to get Lucy to the vet.

We arrive at the vet and I tell the vet tech Lucy's symptoms and what has occurred over the past week. The vet tech proceeds to take Lucy out of her crate and sees a bloody spot on her bottom, next to where her stool comes out from! I couldn't believe I never noticed it; however, Lucy is a medium hair cat. I was in shock! So the vet tech said the vet will be in shortly. Then I started to remember that about a month ago, I noticed a patch of hair missing from the same spot that was bloody looking now.

The vet came in and examined Lucy. He stated that Lucy had a ruptured anal gland. The good news is that it was not infected! He said that this is extremely painful to the cat and if a human had this, we wouldn't be able to walk. It's that bad! I asked how this happened to her and he did say it was pretty common in cats. (This is the first time I have ever heard of this!) I asked the vet, "What could have caused this to happen to my indoor only cat?" I also asked the vet, "Could my other cat have bitten Lucy on the bottom area?" He said the likelihood of Sidney (male cat) biting Lucy exactly in the anal glad spot was pretty unlikely!

The vet explained that the anal gland is a scent sac that sprays odor on the stool when the cat is finished using the litter box (that's why it smells so bad after the cat has a stool movement!). Sometimes these glands get clogged, impacted or unable to spray the scent. Once this occurs, the anal gland starts to rupture because the liquid is unable to get out or be released. By the time I had gotten Lucy to the vet, it looked like she had another anal hole but bloody and yellowish.

The vet said that the "fix" for 99% of cats is an antibiotic shot that stayed/worked in the cat for 4 weeks! Sometimes if the shot didn't work, they would need to knock Lucy out and express (squeeze) the anal gland by hand and give her another antibiotic shot. The shot was over $50.00. I was to bring Lucy back in week for a follow-up visit and also to keep my eye on the rupture to make sure it didn't get worse, like puss coming out of the rupture. If noticed it getting worse, I was to call the vet immediately!

I still was in amazement that my poor little Lucy had this problem! I started to think...what have I changed or done differently to Lucy?! It finally hit me: about a month prior to this I had changed dry cat food to a more expensive brand. This brand was a more concentrated food and was suppose to help the cat not have as many stools in the litter box. So I bought some of it. I slowly introduced the new food to my cats. It took over a week of mixing the new and old dry cat food. Plus you didn't have to feed the cats as much of the new food either.

I told the vet about the dry food switch I had done within the last 30 days. I asked him if this could cause the ruptured anal gland? He told me "Yes it sure could have. He explained that the new dry cat food had much less water content (concentrated). The water content in the old dry cat food helped Lucy be able to use her anal gland after she would use the litter box. By the reduction in the water content of her food, it caused her gland to plug up or clog up and was not able to use the gland. I said to the vet, "I thought the more expensive cat food was better for cats?" He said, "Not necessarily." I told him I would be going back to the dry cat food I use to give my cats. He said, "that's a good idea."

I felt so guilty that I caused my poor cat to be sick and in such horrible pain by just switching cat dry food! When I got Lucy home, I went out and bought the food I use to feed the cats. I switched the cats back to the old food within 3-4 days. I watched Lucy closely over the next week. She was acting a lot better the next day and just continued improving her behavior and health (rupture). I noticed it slowly going away! By the follow-up vet appointment, she was back to acting like her old self! SASSY Lucy! The vet said she was looking great but to continue to watch her and if any thing changed to call them. The antibiotic shot would continue working in her body for 3 more weeks.

I am happy to report that it took a total of 3 months for all of Lucy's hair to grow back on her anal gland! She hasn't had this problem since! She has been fine. Thanks to me feeding her the original dry cat food I had her on! I have learned the following lesson: More expensive food doesn't mean it is better for your cats! I would not change cat food unless told by my vet now! I hope this helps you out with your cat ownership!


Street Talk

Kymee  

WOW thank you for this I have had cats for forever...I have not heard of this, my kids cats were getting the respiratory infections so now I watch for that. Not it seems I have something else to watch for. At least I know the symptoms to keep an eye for.. Thanks for sharing this. I am sure you will help many cat owners with this... I also feel more confident with the food I am feeding my cats.. Thanks again ; O) Kymee

Reply
  about 4 years ago

Thank you so much Kymee! That is why I wrote this article! I want to help Cat Owners out there know not to go and switch the cat food without the direction of their vet!

Reply
  about 4 years ago
Kali Webb  

I just lost a cat a week or so ago. She did a lot of the same things, listless, disappearing, different behaviors. I live in the woods and she disappeared for several days. By the time she reappeared, she was in bad shape and didn't make it. I'm glad Lucy is doing well. The advice I'm taking from this, don't make any changes in their routines - and see the vet ASAP. Thanks for sharing. Kali

Reply
  about 4 years ago

I am so sorry to hear about your cat! Yes you got it Kali, keep things the same (unless vet tells you otherwise) and see the vet ASAP!

Reply
  about 4 years ago
Cena  

I happy for Lucy that she recover completely. Back in 2010 my cat face, gum and eyes turn yellowish. She lifeless, I bring her to vet and she is diagnose with juandice. Her liver is poison. She might chew poison plant or dead rats that are infection. Vet told me if I still delay she might have die. She warded for 2 weeks and discharged. I have to give her supplement for her liver. She still with me till now. Thanks god!

Reply
  about 4 years ago

I am glad to hear your cat is fine now! Giving her a pill is better than losing her! Congrats!

Reply
  about 4 years ago
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