Anal sac disease is a common issue among dogs. Here, our Stuart vets talk about anal sac disease in dogs, including the causes, symptoms, and treatments.
A Dog's Anal Glands
Your dog's anal glands are located at approximately 2 o'clock and 10 o'clock beside your pup's anus. Both male and female dogs have these glands and they release a foul-smelling secretion believed to contribute to 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 pup, and giving other dogs clues to your pet's identity and diet.
Anal Gland Abscesses & Impactions in Dogs
While lots of dogs go through life without experiencing any health issues related to their anal glands, others can be plagued with recurring anal sac diseases such as impactions or abscesses.
When a dog's anal sacs become plugged they are said to be impacted.
Once a dog's anal sacs have become impacted the fluid within the impacted sacs starts to thicken, and the sacs then become swollen and sore, making it painful for your dog to pass a bowel movement.
Blocked anal sacs produce an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Once your dog develops impacted anal glands, abscesses may start to form because of the bacteria traveling up from the feces and entering your dog'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 make the infection spread and cause severe damage to your pup's rectum or anus. If the abscesses burst, they will release a greenish-yellow or bloody fluid.
The Causes of Anal Gland Issues in Dogs
Anal gland issues can be seen in dogs of all breeds and sizes, but they tend to be more common in smaller breeds.
Your dog could be suffering from anal gland issues for various reasons. Some of the most common causes include:
- Environmental allergies or sensitivities
- Food allergies and sensitivities
- Not enough fiber in their diet
- Chronic soft stool or diarrhea
- Chronic skin dermatitis
Signs & Symptoms Anal Sac Disease
If your dog's anal glands have become painful, impacted, or abscessed, they may exhibit one or more of these symptoms:
- Repeatedly or excessively licking or itching the anal area
- 'Scooting', dragging bottom along the floor or ground
- Difficulties passing stool
- Blood or pus near dog's rectum
- Signs of blood or pus in the stool
Treatings Dogs With Anal Sac Disease
Contact your vet if your dog is experiencing anal sac disease. The treatments used to treat your dog's anal gland issues will depend upon the severity of the problem and whether it is a repeated health concern for your pup.
Common treatments include:
- Dietary changes to increase fiber
- Anal gland expressions to help relieve pressure
- Supplements such as fish oil
- Pain medications
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.