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Your Dog's Anal Gland Health: More Important Than You Think

Your Dog's Anal Gland Health: More Important Than You Think

Your dog can go its whole life without any issues with their anal glands but they can be something that should be a concern when they are not working properly. Our Ygnacio Animal Hospital vets will provide information on anal gland health and what we can do for your dog.

About Anal Glands in Your Dog

Anal glands, or anal sacs, are two small pockets, each about the size of a small grape, located on the right and left sides of a dog’s anus. Each gland connects to a small tube that secretes a very distinctive, foul-smelling fluid.

Under normal circumstances, when stool passes through the anus, it applies pressure to the glands and releases (expresses) the fluid.

Most dogs involuntarily express their anal glands. If a dog’s nutritional needs are being met with food, and they are a healthy weight and get exercise regularly, your dog should not need to have their anal glands expressed.

If your dog is not having an issue, there is nothing you need to do.

Why Are They Important?

Once your dog starts having issues with anal gland infections, impaction, or abscessation, it is usually best to have its glands expressed every 3-4 weeks to prevent the issue from happening again.

If you think your dog is having issues with their anal glands contact Ygnacio Animal Hospital. Your dog’s anal glands can be expressed by your Walnut Creek vets.

Signs of Issues With Your Dog’s Anal Glands

The most common signs your dog may be having trouble with its anal glands include:  

  • Scooting
  • Frequently turning to lick or bite their hind end
  • Straining to poop
  • Showing discomfort when pooping (dyschezia)
  • Not wanting to sit
  • Anal discharge
  • Crying or whimpering
  • Becoming withdrawn or lethargic
  • Not wanting to eat or drink
  • Swelling or redness in the anal area

What Should a Vet Do About it? 

Your veterinarian will complete a physical examination, including a digital rectal exam. Some other testing that may need to be done such as an ultrasound, fine needle aspirate, tissue biopsy, and/or bacterial culture and sensitivity.

Most cases of anal sac disease can be treated with a manual expression of the glands and local treatment with antibiotics and/or steroid ointments.

Some cases could require oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory pain medication.

In severe cases, surgical intervention might be needed.

If you are concerned about your dog's anal glands, contact your Ygnacio Animal Hospital vets for further examination.

New Patients Welcome

Ygnacio Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Walnut Creek companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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