Difficulties pooping and scooting along the ground are both common signs of issues affecting the anal glands in dogs. In today's post, our Rancho Palos Verdes vets talk about the causes of anal sac disease in dogs and how they can be treated.
Dog Anal Glands and the Occurance of Anal Sac Disease
Your dog has two glands within their anus. These glands are present in both male and female dogs and release a foul-smelling secretion believed to play a role in territory marking. When your dog passes a bowel movement the anal sacs release some of the fluid onto the stool, giving it an odor unique to your dog, and providing other dogs with clues to your dog's identity and diet.
Impaction of the Anal Glands in Dogs
While many dogs go through life with no health issues associated with anal glands, others can be plagued with recurring anal sac diseases such as impactions or abscesses.
Plugged anal sacs in dogs are commonly referred to as being 'impacted'.
Once the dog's anal sacs have become impacted the fluid within the impacted sacs begins to thicken and the sacs will become swollen and sore, making it painful for your dog to pass a bowel movement.
Bacteria can Once your dog develops impacted anal glands abscesses may begin to form due to bacteria traveling up from the feces and entering your pup's anal sacs causing a buildup of pus.
Anal gland abscesses in dogs appear as swollen red and painful areas on either side of your dog's anus. Untreated anal abscesses could result in spreading infection and severe damage to your pup's rectum or anus. If the abscesses burst they will release a greenish-yellow or bloody fluid.
Cause of Issues Affecting Anal Glands in Dogs
Conditions affecting the anal glands in dogs most commonly affect smaller dog breeds but they are also known to impact dogs of all breeds and sizes.
There are a number of reasons why your dog could be suffering from anal gland issues. Some of the most common include:
- Chronic soft stool or diarrhea
- Not enough fiber in the diet
- Chronic skin dermatitis
- Food allergies and sensitivities
- Environmental allergies or sensitivities
Signs of Issues in Your Dog's Anal Glands
If your dog's anal glands have become painful, impacted or abscessed you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- 'Scooting', dragging the bottom along the floor or ground
- Repeatedly or excessively licking or itching the anal area
- Difficulties passing stool
- Signs of blood or pus in the stool
- Blood or pus near the dog's rectum
Treatment of Anal Sac Disease in Dogs
Contact your vet if your dog is experiencing anal sac disease. The treatment for your dog's anal gland issues will depend upon the severity of the problem and whether it is a repeated health concern for your dog.
Common treatments include:
- Your vet may express the anal glands helping to relieve pressure
- Antibiotics may be prescribed
- Pain medications
- Supplements may be recommended such as fish oil
- Dietary changes to increase fiber
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.