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Anal Sac Disease in Dogs

Is your dog having trouble passing stool or 'scooting'? The issue could be anal sac disease. Our Springfield vets explain the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this bothersome condition in dogs in today's post.

Anal Glands in Dogs

The anal glands of your dog are located beside the anus at approximately 2 o'clock and 10 o'clock. Both male and female dogs have these glands, which produce a foul-smelling secretion that is thought to aid in territory marking. When your dog passes a bowel movement, the anal sacs release some of the fluid onto the stool, giving it a distinct odor and revealing your dog's identity and diet to other dogs.

Anal Gland Impactions & Abscesses 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.

When the dog's anal sacs become plugged they are said to be 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.

Blocked anal sacs produce an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. 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.

Dogs with anal gland abscesses have swollen, red, and painful areas on either side of their anus. Anal abscesses left untreated can spread infection and cause severe damage to your puppy's rectum or anus. If the abscesses burst, a greenish-yellow or bloody fluid will be released.

Causes of Dog Anal Gland Problems

Although anal gland issues are seen in dogs of any breed or size they do tend to occur more frequently in small breeds.

There are a number of reasons why your dog could be suffering from anal gland issues. Some of the most common include:

  • Obesity
  • Chronic soft stool or diarrhea
  • Not enough fiber in the diet
  • Chronic skin dermatitis
  • Food allergies and sensitivities
  • Environmental allergies or sensitivities
  • Genetics

How to Tell if Your Dog is Having Anal Glad Problems

If your dog's anal glands have become painful, impacted, or abscessed you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • 'Scooting', dragging 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 dog's rectum

Treatment for Anal Gland Disease in Dogs

If your dog has anal sac disease, consult your veterinarian. Treatment for your dog's anal gland problems will be determined by the severity of the problem and whether it is a recurring health issue.

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
  • Surgery

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.

If your dog is showing signs of anal sac disease, we can help! Contact our Springfield vets to book an examination for your canine companion.

New Patients Welcome

Greenbrier-Springfield Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Springfield companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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Contact (615) 643-7931