Scooty Booty

A few weeks ago Mama and I were coming home after going out for walkies.  She stopped and talked with the mom of a neighborhood dog named McGill, a big black shaggy bear of a thing.  I get so bored when Mama does this – but this time I also felt itchy.  Specifically, my butt itched.  A lot.  As any of you who have met dogs know, we don’t really have a sense of what you humans call “shame,” so I decided to just scoot along right there on the sidewalk.  This, unfortunately, led to a distressed outburst from McGill’s mom.

“She’s got worms!  She’s got worms!” she cried out.  She went on to tell Mama that Annie, the poodle who lives next door to my family, has worms.  She described some major scooting she had seen Annie doing and told Mama that she should check my poop for worms and take me to the vet.

Mama tried to explain to McGill’s mom that I’d had issues with scooting before that had nothing to do with worms.  One time Mama took me to the vet because I was scooting and chewing on my butt a lot, and he had to “express my anal glands.” Every dog has two glands in his/her anus, and these glands contain liquid with a distinct aroma.  To humans it smells icky, but it tells us dogs a lot of information: the scents from these glands tell us the other dog’s sex, health, age, if s/he is interested in mating, etc; that’s why we like to smell each other’s butts when we meet – so much more informative than shaking hands or whatever you humans like to do.  Normally, when we poop the liquid gets released, but sometimes, especially with small dogs like me, the liquid can build up.  Apparently that has happened with me a lot.  Thankfully, this has never resulted in infection, as it sometimes can (according to the vet), but it does make for some major discomfort for me, leading to the vet having to put his fingers in my butt to get the liquid to release – which is even more uncomfortable!  One vet said that one of my two glands wasn’t quite in the right position, leading to that gland not getting released when it was supposed to be., which is why I kept having issues with scooting.

Anyway, like I said, Mama tried to explain this – but McGill’s mom kept insisting that I must have gotten worms from Annie.  Mama and I did actually see Annie do a lot of scooting, but Annie’s mom said it wasn’t a health issue.  Besides, we have heard McGill’s mom and Annie’s mom don’t really get along, so who was to say what was right?

Well for a while I stopped scooting, but then it came back with a vengeance.  My butt itched so badly!  Daddy and Mama didn’t see anything icky in my poop that made them suspect worms, but I kept scooting, so Mama made an appointment with the vet.  Again.

The vet office we go to is actually quite nice.  The people who work up front are always really nice.  There usually isn’t a long wait.  Mama doesn’t usually have to pay much.  And even the vets are nice.  I always get excited going for a ride, and when I get there I always have to sniff around.  Around the time I get into an exam room I tend to get a little nervous.  I can smell the other animals that have been in the room before me and the cleaning materials they use to disinfect, so I go nuts smelling all over… Also this is when it starts to sink in that I am here to see the doctor.

Here Mama smiles, but you can see the realization that I am soon to have a vet touching my butt dawning.

Mama decided it might be amusing to document how interested in the smells I get… She is a bit quiet, so in case you can’t hear, at one point she does say “Does it smell like vet in here?”

“So many smells… Mama… What is going on?!”

When the vet came in, he asked Mama “Is someone doing the booty dance?”  Mama assented, and explained there was the possibility that a neighbor’s dog had worms.  Before Mama could say anything more, he cut her short and said “That’s an old wife’s tale.  She doesn’t have worms.”  Well, that was the end of that.

He did express my anal glands, as the other vets I have seen do (it doesn’t hurt, but I don’t really like it).  But he said this wasn’t the main issue.  He looked at my skin all over and said that I probably had allergies.  Yes, dogs can have allergies too!  We can be allergic to things in the environment, but also to things in our food.  He said it can be hard to narrow down exactly what it is that is causing the allergies, but that I can feel better by getting half a Benadryl with my food twice a day.  He also said that if I get really scooty, Daddy or Mama could put some hydrocortisone from my butt all the way up the underside of my tail – and keep me from licking it for ten minutes or so (human medicine can sometimes make dogs sick – but we dogs have a hard time resisting our natural urge to lick things).

So I don’t have worms (I didn’t think I did!) and My People have a way to make me less scooty.  And on an unrelated note, I lost a little weight (I was getting a bit heavy for the vet’s liking), which is also good for my health.  All in all, it was a successful visit to the doctor.  After all that, I thought I deserved a rest.


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