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Anal Sac Disease in Dogs

Have you been noticing that your dog is finding it difficult to pass stools or has been displaying abnormal behavior? They could be experiencing anal sac disease. Today our Citrus Heights vets discuss what anal sac disease is as well as the causes, symptoms and treatment in dogs.

What Are Anal Glands In Dogs?

Anal glands are a part of both male and female dog anatomy and it is commonly thought that these sacs are responsible for the fluid used to mark territory. Your dog's anal glands are located at approximately 2 o'clock and 10 o'clock beside your pup's anus. These glands coat your dog's stool in their unique scent allowing other dogs to learn anything they need to about your dog as well as what your dog's preferred diet is.

What are Anal Gland Impactions?

Not all dogs will have to experience anal gland impaction. A large number of dogs will go through life without ever suffering from anal gland disease and its symptoms, while others can be plagued with recurring anal sac diseases such as impactions or abscesses.

When a dog's anal sacs become impacted, they are commonly referred to as being plugged. 

Dog's anal sacs are fluid-filled and when they become impacted the fluid within the impacted sacs will thicken causing the sacs to become extremely swollen and uncomfortable, which will make passing a bowel movement very painful for your dog.

As well as being painful, these impacted anal sacs also have the potential to allow bacteria to multiply which can create many further complications. 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.

When examining your dog, these anal gland abscesses will appear as swollen red and painful areas on either side of your dog's anus. If left 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.

Causes of Anal Gland Disease in Dogs

Anal Sac disease can affect dogs of all sizes and breeds but has been noted to be more frequent in dogs of smaller breeds.

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

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

Signs Of Anal Gland Disease In Dogs

Some of the symptoms that your dog may experience if they are suffering from anal sac disease are:

  • '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

It is important to contact your vet if your dog is experiencing any symptoms of anal sac disease in order to be diagnosed and treated quickly. 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
  • 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.

Is your dog showing the uncomfortable symptoms of anal sac disease? Contact our Citrus Heights vets to book an appointment to have them examined and treated.

New Patients Always Welcome

Family Friends Veterinary Hospital is happy to accept new patients! Our vets are passionate about improving the health of Citrus Heights companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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