I took Heinrich in for a small skin condition around his hind quarters and a few other patchy areas that were raised a bit and flaky. The vet said they were infected and gave an injection of Convenia and that those spots needed to be checked again in 2 weeks. While there he needed an annual, blood work and they did an in house urinalysis. This is where my concern and anxiety begin for him. The in house urinalysis showed signs of proteinuria it showed around +3, but everything else looked okay, no kidney enzymes sediment, crystals and blood protein were not a concern for the vet.
The vet is telling me that this concern in particular can be treated with a change in diet and monitoring the protein levels. She is also concerned that it could be Cushing's although Heinrich isn't exhibiting any symptoms, as I've been reading about what to look for. The Cushing's test is expensive and I don't really have the finances for it. I collected a three day sample of urine from three different times of the day to give to the vet to send out for a U/PC test (urine protein creatinine) which confirmed the result the vet obtained at +3 protein in the urine and a U/PC ration of 1.3, reference normal <0.5.
Aside from the skin issues (which seem to be clearing up a little now) and a lingering ear infection there are no other reasons the vet can find as to an underlying cause for protein in the urine. From what I've learned if there is no underlying cause for proteinuria then it is called glomerulosclerosis.
Now after all that, this week I noticed that between Heinrich's anus and scrotum there appears to be swelling on either side below the anus and his anus appears a bit puffy also. I can add a photo later today. He puckers back there if you touch anywhere back there but it doesn't appear to be causing him any pain and it is soft to the touch. I'm a pet owner that notices things like poo and pee in that sometimes they can give tell tell signs of health issues so I make a point to just quickly check these things out. So given that I have seen Heinrich's posterior many times and I know that it has never shown swelling like this. I took him back to the vet and after an exam I was told that his anal sacs were empty, he had been groomed about week prior (the groomers at my vet use an external technique to clear the anal glands). She also said that the anal gland openings did not appear to be blocked. The vet admitted that she was not sure what was causing the swelling but that the perennial muscle wall felt weak and that area could herniate.
What concerns me is that prior to a week ago everything was fine and now I'm staring a very different future for my little guy. Also if the swelling below the anus (perennial area) is the start of a hernia first of all I would expect a vet to know this but I feel like it's ticking time bomb. What could have caused that (did we play too rough has he been jumping too much, etc.) And it seems as if it has only come up in the last week. He has always had good healthy bowel movements and I don't feel like he strains to defecate. But I'll admit that I'm not really sure what that would look like as he seems to always go just fine.
My vet hasn't had a lot of answers and at this point with everything that I've learned in the last week I feel like I should get a second opinion from a different vet clinic.
The perennial swelling seems like it could be an acute issue if I can't find someone who knows what that is and that makes me anxious for Heinrich. The protienuria seems to be a longer term maintenance issue rather than a possibly serious acute issue.
Any advice for a concerned pet owner?
Thank you very much,
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It is a difficult situation when a dog with an apparently mild condition is then diagnosed as potentially having something quite serious. My personal approach with our dogs is ( as you have been doing) to monitor their health and wellbeing every day in terms of activity, temperament, pee/poo , appetite etc. and if these are all as usual and no other cause for concern then I would be reluctant to run costly tests for a condition with no compelling justification (Cushings).
I do know of entire male dogs who have developed perianal tumours and this has been confirmed by biopsy. The treatment varies depending on a number of factors as detailed in one of Julie's links above.
I have never known of dogs with the perianal hernia which can be very serious but, as you say, I would have expected the vet to have been able to definitively diagnose this condition and, in any event, you really do need a trustworthy diagnosis of Heinrich's issue before considering cause or treatment.
Re the anal gland clearing at the groomers, this should not really be necessary in most dogs who clear the glands quite naturally if they are on a good diet and have regular exercise. The technique itself can affect the tissues around the anus and may have led to some weakening of the muscle mass in that area. If a dog is having chronic anal gland impaction then a change of diet should be considered and obviously if there is a blockage it would need clearing manually.
It is inevitable that, as dogs age, however fit and healthy they have been through their life, things can start to occur such as joint stiffness, lower energy levels and they can become more prone to minor infections which in their younger days their immune system would have quickly dealt with. The other issue that I have found, with dogs and people who go for medical diagnosis, that "unusual" readings for blood pressure, urine etc etc can be highlighted and serious problems suggested as possible even though the "patient / client" seems perfectly well. Although it is impossible to say for certain, in many cases the abnormality may be normal for that individual or, if it is not, it may have a more benign or temporary cause rather than the frightening terminal conditions that are suggested. Personally for myself and my dogs, I use my own judgement as to whether I feel the physical and emotional stress of exploratory tests are justified or whether I would prefer to wait for more compelling reasons. This is only my personal approach but I have known family members and the dogs belonging to friends who have been told they might have really serious conditions on very little apparent evidence and which turned out to be something quite minor and temporary.
From what you have said, Clark, I would be inclined to seek a second opinion at another surgery for Heinrich, hopefully to set your mind at rest but, in any event to give you a diagnosis you can feel confident with. I do hope you can resolve the issues and get Heinrich back to full health very soon. Good luck and do let us know how you get on.
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