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Anal Sac Disease in Dogs

Reviewed by Peter Kintzer DVM, DACVIM on Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Posted October 21, 2011 in Dog Diseases & Conditions A-Z

Overview
Anal sac disease is a common and very smelly problem. If you have ever experienced an atrocious odor coming from the backside of your favorite pooch, you have probably had the pleasure of smelling anal gland discharge.

Anal sac disease can occur when a dog’s anal glands do not expel fluid properly. This fluid, used to mark territory, is normally expelled during defecation. If the fluid builds up in the glands, it can cause pain and infection, and sometimes even lead to abscesses and rupture.

Risk
All dogs are at risk for this odiferous issue, but smaller breeds, such as miniature poodles and miniature schnauzers, have an increased risk. Dogs with chronically loose stools are also at greater risk.

Signs
So what do you need to watch out for? Aside from the very foul odor, dogs with impacted or infected anal glands may scoot their butts on the ground or chew and lick excessively at their hindquarters. They may also have difficulty defecating.

Diagnosing
Though your compadre may protest, a rectal exam is usually performed by your veterinarian to determine if the glands are impacted or infected. If they are, your veterinarian will manually express fluid by squeezing the glands. Additionally, depending on the severity of the condition and if the glands are infected, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics.

Prevention
Anal gland problems are common. If your pet has a recurring issue with them, your veterinarian may suggest a high-fiber diet to help prevent future problems. Additionally, your veterinarian may show you how you can express the blocked glands at home.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

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