Anal sac diseases
If you’re familiar with the image of your dog scooting across the room on his bottom, or licking his or hers behinds, it could be a sign of anal sac disease or disorder. So, what is it and how do we treat it?
What are Anal Sac Disorders?
Our dogs have two anal glands right by the anus which secretes a smelly, oily, brown fluid that dogs use to identify each other and mark their territory. This is why dogs naturally smell each other’s behinds. These glands, on both sides of the anus, are naturally drained when your dog has a bowel movement. It is a possibility that the fluid would become too thick to be expressed and it be clogged (or impacted, in clinical terminology).
If the anal gland is impacted for a while, it might get infected and swollen, which can even lead to the formation of an abscess, which would be very painful for your dog.
Impacted anal glands are not a life threatening disorder on its on, but they may be very uncomfortable and your dog could even, while trying to clean the area by scooting on the ground, harm himself to a more severe degree.
Once the anal glands get inflamed it is painful for your dog to have a bowel movement and he may become constipated. Once the anal sacs become abscessed, your dog is in danger of
the infection spreading to the rest of the body.
Even though all breeds of dogs are susceptible to this condition, it seems to be seen more
in small dogs. Some of those dog breeds are Chihuahua, Dachshund, and the Miniature or Toy Poodle.
Symptoms of anal sac disorders in dogs include scooting on the floor, excessive biting or licking of the anus , constipation or pain while pooping/sitting (or trying to), brown or red spots on the floor of your house , bad smell from the caudal side that gets worse with each of the listed above stages, swelling and redness in the anal area in the more progressed cases.
Causes of Anal Sac Disorders in Dogs
Anal sac disorders would develop when the sacs are not emptied as they normally should. This might be due to various reasons (an infection, an inflammation, diet not containing enough fibers and so on). This is more common in older and obese dogs because their anal glands do not empty as well as they should. The situation will usually recur and with every incidence, it would become more frequent.
Diagnosis of Anal Sac Disorders in Dogs
When the anal glands are clogged it can be identified easily in a rectal examination (usually done as part of the normal physical examination by your veterinarian). It is important that your vet will examine the history (when the symptoms developed, if the diet changed recently, if there are any other symptoms bothering your dog and so on) to rule out more severe incidents which might lead to the anal sac disorder.
Treatment of Anal Sac Disorders in Dogs
If an abscess had not yet formed, your vet could drain the sacs using somewhat easily. if the anal sac is clogged by hardened secretions or there is an infection involved there may be a need to flush it out with saline or a softening solution. If the impaction formed an abscess there is a need to lance it and treat with antibiotics for 2-3 weeks. Sedation or anesthesia should be considered if the dog is suffering from pain. The treatment should be recurrent (as the disease is), and if severe a surgical option of removing the glands altogether should be considered.