September 30, 2010

Dog Anal Glands

Filed under: anal glands — Dr. Amber Reed @ 11:59 am

Perhaps not the ideal topics for discussion over breakfast, your dog’s anal glands are actually an important aspect of social behavior for dogs.  There are two dog anal glands are found at around 5 and 7 o’clock around a dog’s rectal opening.  When your dog defecates, a small amount of a brown, liquid substance is excreted helping your dog to mark his territory.  Moreover, this noxious smelling liquid helps dogs to identify each other which is why dogs often smell each other’s rear end when they first meet.

When dogs urinate and defecate, their anal glands experience a bit of pressure causing the release of a small amount of fluid.  Similarly, when dogs meet new dogs, they raise their tail to apply pressure to their anal glands and release some of this fluid and the butt sniffing ensues.  Unfortunately, dog anal glands have the capacity to get infected from time to time.

In most cases, dogs will keep their anal glands clean and clear and infections never arise.  Yet, while most dogs will never have a problem with their anal glands, infections are not uncommon.  These infections lead to abscesses which can ultimately rupture and cause more serious complications.  Signs of dog anal gland problems include the following:

  • You notice your dog scooting or dragging his bottom across the floor or yard.
  • Your dog is regularly chewing or licking around his rectum.
  • Your dog’s stools are soft.
  • You notice a foul odor coming from your dog’s bottom.

If you notice any of these problems your dog’s anal glands may need to be cleaned and manually expressed.  While it is possible to do this from home, it is probably better to get a trained professional to take care of this somewhat nasty business.  The fluid excreted from your dog’s rectum already smells quite disgusting, and the fact that your dog’s anal glands may be infected will only make matters worse.  Remember, in most cases you will not need to clean your dog’s anal glands and there is no recommended schedule for this kind of grooming.  However, when a problem arises, you should visit your veterinarian or a trained groomer to manually express and clean the anal glands.

April 15, 2010

What is Anal Gland Disease?

Filed under: anal gland disease,anal glands,gland disease — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:18 am

While more common in dogs, anal gland disease is a condition that can affect both cats and dogs. Around your pet’s anal opening there are some small sacs known as the anal glands which can become infected causing abscesses. In normal cats and dogs, the anal glands secrete a clear or cream colored substance during defecation that is used to market territory.

Anal gland disease in cats and dogs occurs when the anal glands become impacted or blocked. The contents of the glands can become dry and hard leading to inflammation and possibly an abscess. Some of the symptoms of anal gland disease include:

  • Swelling or redness of the anal area
  • Irritation near the anus
  • Severe pain
  • Behavioral changes

In addition to these symptoms, pets with anal gland disease may bite at their bottom or drag their bottom along the ground. In many cases, the abscesses that develop due to anal gland disease can burst which can be extremely painful for your cat or dog.

Treating anal gland disease is usually preventative. If your dog or cat has suffered from anal gland disease before, your veterinarian will recommend adding more fiber to your pet’s diet. The extra bulk in your pet’s feces will put gentle pressure on the anal glands ensuring that they are squeezed during defecation and preventing a blockage. Your veterinarian will have to manually squeeze the anal glands to express the substance from the gland. In addition, if abscesses have been formed, your veterinarian will clean the area and may prescribe antibiotics to treat infection. In very extreme cases of anal gland disease, cats and dogs may have to have surgery to remove the anal glands. In most cases, anal gland disease is not a risk to your pet’s life but it can cause a fair amount of discomfort.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.