Dog Anal Glands Leak High Quality
The anal sacs are two small pouches located on either side of the anus at approximately the four o'clock and eight o'clock positions. The walls of the sac are lined with a large number of sebaceous (sweat) glands that produce a foul-smelling fluid. The fluid is stored in the anal sacs and then released through a small duct or canal that opens just inside the anus. The anal sacs are commonly referred to as anal glands. The sacs are present in both male and female dogs.
dog anal glands leak
The anal sac secretion contains chemicals that act as territorial markers or 'dog calling cards'. The secretions are similar to those produced by a skunk, which is used to repel enemies and alert other animals to their presence. Anal sac fluid is usually squeezed out by muscular contractions whenever the dog passes a bowel movement, providing a distinctive odor (or individual 'scent signature') to the feces. This is why dogs are so interested in smelling one another's feces.
The secreted material within the anal sacs is an ideal medium for bacterial growth, allowing abscesses to form. Bacteria that are normally present in the feces can readily travel up the ducts and enter the sacs. In normal situations, the bacteria are flushed out when the secretions are expelled during a bowel movement. However, if the sacs are impacted, the fluid does not empty normally, and they become infected. The fluid then becomes bloody and, eventually, the sacs become filled with pus, forming an anal sac abscess.
The first sign is often scooting or dragging the rear end along the ground. There may be excessive licking or biting, often at the base of the tail rather than the anal area. If the anal sac ruptures, you may see blood or pus draining from the rectum. Anal sac disease is very painful. Even normally gentle dogs may snap or growl if you touch the tail or anus if they are affected.
Some dogs will have recurrent anal sac impactions or abscesses. The causes of recurrent anal sac disease are not clear but many conditions appear to predispose dogs. Overweight dogs tend to have chronic anal sac problems because their anal sacs do not empty well. Changes in stool consistency such as diarrhea or constipation can lead to anal sac disease. Skin allergies have also been theorized as contributing to anal sac disease.
If your dog experiences recurrent anal sac disease, he should be assessed and treated for any underlying conditions to reduce recurrence. If your dog has several episodes of anal sac disease and recommended treatments, such as dietary changes, lifestyle changes, supplements, or medications do not relieve the problem, the anal sacs can be removed surgically.
Some dogs will experience loose stools or a lack of bowel control for one to three weeks following surgery. This occurs because the nerves controlling the anal sphincters (muscles that close the rectum) run through the soft tissues near the anal sacs. If the infection is deep and extensive it may be impossible to avoid damaging the nerves during the surgery. This damage resolves without further treatment in most pets. In rare cases, the nerve damage is permanent and can result in chronic fecal incontinence.
General anesthesia is required for surgery, which always carries some degree of risk. Advances in anesthetic drugs and monitoring continue to lower these risks. If your dog is suffering from chronic or recurrent anal sac infection or impaction, surgical removal may be the best option to relieve her pain.
It is common for dogs to release the contents of their anal sacs, particularly if frightened. Some dogs even appear to lack control of the anus or anal sac ducts and a small amount of fluid will drain out while they are resting, leaving an unpleasant lingering odor in the home. If your dog has this problem, you may elect to remove the anal sacs.
Many dogs will go through their lifetime without any issues with their anal glands. There are times, however, when these glands can become full, impacted, or infected. When signs of anal gland issues occur, dog owners should contact from a veterinarian.
If your dog is displaying signs and symptoms of an anal gland problem, seek the advice of your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may manually express the sacs. An antibiotic or supplement may be prescribed if there is an infection.
There are a few theories as to why dogs have anal sacs and what purpose they serve. Some say the excretion from the anal gland act as a territorial scent marker. Others argue the excretion acts as a lubricant that helps a dog pass a hard stool.
Obese animals do seem to have more trouble with their anal glands than do slimmer individuals, probably because extra body fat in the anal region lessens the pressure that passing feces applies to the glands.
Relatively uncommon in cats and large breed dogs, anal gland infections and impactions are more often diagnosed in small breeds such as Toy and Miniature Poodles, Chihuahuas, and Lhasa Apsos. Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, and Beagles also rank high on the list of breeds affected by anal gland difficulties. Dogs of any age and either sex can be affected.
A difference of opinion exists regarding whether or not healthy anal glands should be routinely expressed by hand. Many veterinarians suggest that this should not be done in a normal dog with no history of problems. Many groomers make it a matter of routine, however, to express the anal glands of the dogs under their care. If you are concerned that frequent anal gland expressions may be causing your dog more troubles than they are solving, you can always request that your groomer skip this step.
Some individuals may be born with very narrow ducts that drain the glands, thereby obstructing the flow of anal sac material. Acquired damage to the duct can occur with perianal infections, trauma, allergies, or inflammation. Other potential causes include anal sphincter muscle dysfunction, distended anal glands, and overproduction of anal gland material.
Treatment for impaction involves expressing or emptying the sacs. If the impaction is severe or if there is an infection, it may be necessary to flush out the affected sac to remove the solidified material. Since these conditions are painful, some pets require a sedative or an anesthetic for this treatment. Antibiotics are often prescribed orally and sometimes may need to be instilled into the sacs. Most dogs will require pain relief medications for several days until the swelling and inflammation have subsided. In advanced or severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Problems with the anal sacs are common in all dogs, regardless of size or breed. If you are concerned that your pet may have an anal sac problem, call your veterinarian at once.
Anal glands can be surgically removed. But there are some things you should know before going for this option. There is a risk of damaging the nerves and the anal sphincter during surgery. This could leave your dog fecally incontinent. There is also a small risk that some of the anal gland wall can get left behind. If this happens, your dog could develop a draining sinus as the remaining tissue keeps making fluid. A second surgery is usually necessary.
Anal glands can also get infected, and in this case, they can also become abscessed if left untreated. Infected and abscessed anal sacs are very painful, and the area may appear discolored or swollen. If left untreated, these abscesses can rupture through the skin.
There are certain conditions your dog may have that can increase the chances of anal sac disease. These include: being overweight or obese, food and environmental allergies, hypothyroidism, skin mites, and bacterial or yeast infections of the skin.
Infected or abscessed anal sacs are cleaned with an antiseptic and are then typically treated with antibiotics. Your veterinarian may recommend hot compresses applied to the area if she suspects an abscess, and it may take a few flushings for the infection to resolve.
This article is intended to provide general guidance on how to tell if your dog needs his anal glands expressed. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call.)
Obesity presents many risks to dogs, as well as impacted anal glands. A fat dog is more likely to develop diabetes, heart problems, and joint conditions, including arthritis. Also, obese flat-faced or brachycephalic breeds tend to develop serious breathing problems, especially during hot weather.
Impacted anal sacs are uncomfortable for your dog and can be potentially very serious if they rupture or become infected. Thankfully, the condition is easily treated if you catch it straight away and pay a visit to your vet to get the anal glands expressed.
In dogs, the most common symptom associated with allergies is localized (in one area) or generalized (all over the body) itching of the skin and ears. Keep in mind that in some dogs, licking or chewing the feet is the only symptom of itching. In some cases, the symptoms involve the respiratory system, with coughing, sneezing, and/or wheezing. Sometimes, there may be runny discharge from the eyes or nose. In other cases, allergies affect the digestive system, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, or chronic anal gland issues.
If anal glands are blocked for a long period of time, they can become extremely inflamed and abscess. If the abscess ruptures, the dog can be in more pain as the open wounds begin to heal. Veterinary evaluation is needed to ensure your dog or cat is getting the proper pain and antibiotic relief.
Phoenix seems to have a sensitive stomach, and after making a food switch (from beef to chicken), as well as adding pumpkin (not the pie mix) to his meals, his stools are formed. If Phoenix has softer stools for longer than 3 days, I monitor for anal leakage. When necessary, we have visited the vet for anal gland expression, which only takes a few minutes.
If you are savvy at following instructional videos, YouTube has several how-to videos on anal expression for dogs; however, if anal glands are expressed routinely, this can also lead to inflammation causing severe, chronic problems. It is best to discuss with a veterinarian if you notice that you are routinely expressing the anal glands for your dog, as this could mean there is a bigger issue.