June 7, 2013

Anal sac disease

The anal sacs are located on either side of your pet’s anus, just under the skin, at about five and seven o’clock positions. They open to the outside by tiny passageways or ducts to the anal opening.{{more}}

Glands within the anal sacs produce a dark, oily, semi-liquid, foul-smelling substance that if, when handling the dog, mistakenly gets on any part of your body or clothes, leaves a pungent smell on you all day.

The sacs normally empty as the animal has a bowel movement.

What do they do? There are a number of theories why dogs, cats, skunks, and other mammals have anal sacs and what possible use they might have. One theory states that anal sac contents, when excreted with the passing of stool or by anal sphincter muscle contraction, act as a powerful territorial scent marker, somewhat like humans posting a “no trespassing” sign. Another theory states that the anal sac material lubricates hard stool, which makes passage easier.

Disease of the anal sacs fall into three categories:

1. Impaction: The anal sac fluid is abnormally thick and cannot be released. This causes irritation, that your pet may express by “bottom scooting,” excessive licking around the anus, tail chasing, and discomfort sitting, or chewing at the base of the tail. The material can be expressed manually during an examination.

2. Infection: Bacteria produce yellow or bloody pus in the anal sacs. Infection may also exist in other areas, such as eyes, ears, tonsils, and/or skin. Your pet may scoot (drag its anus on the ground), lick excessively at the tail, or be tender near and under the tail. .

3. Abscessation: As a result of infection, the pus cannot be released from the sac and an abscess develops in the anal sac. A hot, tender swelling near the anus eventually ruptures, discharging blood and pus around the anus. The area is very painful and smells terrible. The animal has a fever, is lethargic, and often goes off food. Often the animal has pain when defecating. Abscesses must be lanced (if they have not already ruptured) and cleaned. Your pet will also need to take oral antibiotics. There are occasions when the complete surgical removal of the gland is recommended.

Having your dog’s anal glands expressed at first sign of irritation can prevent infection and abscessation.

For further information, contact: Dr Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd.
Tel: 456 4981