The anal glands in dogs are an issue that many dog owners are confronted with in the course of a dog’s life. Nevertheless, we rarely deal with the topic before it becomes acute. So that you are prepared in case of an emergency, we will inform you here about your dog’s anal glands and the diseases associated with them. We also look at the common treatment options, as well as ways that you can use to prevent inflammation of the anal glands.
What are the Anal Glands in Dogs?
Your dog communicates a lot with other dogs. He does this in a variety of ways – body language, noises, and facial expressions. But also a lot about the sense of smell. For example, by urinating (and sniffing at the places marked in this way), dogs can exchange a lot of information with other dogs. A secretion is also released when dropping feces. They use this to let other dogs know, for example, when they claim a territory. Or they use this scent to signal other dogs that they are ready to mate.
What is Anal Gland Inflammation and How Does it Develop?
The secretion that is passed along with the dog’s feces is produced in the anal glands. These are glands located at the bottom left and right of the anus. They each open into an anal sac in which the anal gland secretion is collected. These end up in your dog’s intestinal tract. If there is anal gland secretion in these bags, it is released during defecation due to the pressure that the feces exerts on the bags.
What Causes Inflammation of the Anal Glands?
The anal glands are sensitive glands in your dog. They regularly release the anal gland secretion. This collects in the anal sacs. These must also be emptied regularly so that they are not overfilled. In healthy dogs, this happens automatically when they defecate. However, if the anal sacs are not emptied, they continue to fill up. At some point, they are so full that the anal glands can no longer release anything into the pouch. They become clogged and can become inflamed. This is painful and creates uncomfortable pressure that the dog feels in the anal region.
The consistency of the anal gland secretion often changes if it does not drain for too long. It is usually quite thin but can become thicker and even almost solid. This makes it increasingly difficult for fluid to drain normally from the anal sacs. The general irritation of the region causes reddening, for example. Bacteria also have an easier time attacking the irritated region, which can lead to inflammation or even suppuration (abscesses).
Symptoms of Anal Sac Infection in Dogs
You can tell that your dog has problems with the anal glands from several symptoms. Not all symptoms appear all of the time, and inflammation manifests itself differently in every dog. symptoms include:
- Noticeably frequent licking or nibbling at the anus region
- the so-called “sledding,” where the dog slides its bottom forward on the ground to relieve itching
- the extreme smell in the anus
- Redness or bumps on the anus
- often jerky movements with the head backward, triggered by pain
- difficulty defecating
- Sensitivity of the region, your dog no longer likes to be touched there
- some dogs frequently roll on their backs, particularly rubbing their lower back against the ground
Visit the vet
If you suspect that your dog has problems with the anal glands, the best thing to do is consult a veterinarian or an alternative animal practitioner. These can often give your dog relief relatively quickly. If the anal sacs no longer empty themselves, it may be appropriate for the sacs to be squeezed out manually. The veterinarian presses the anal sacs evenly from both sides with gentle pressure, after which they empty. Regularly massaging the anal sacs can also give your dog some relief, as well as rub a soothing cream on the affected and irritated area.
If the anal sac or the anal glands are already inflamed, cortisone or an antibiotic often helps to eliminate the inflammation. It is particularly helpful here if the anal sacs are rinsed with a solution containing antibiotics. If abscesses have already formed, it is unfortunately sometimes necessary for the veterinarian to open them surgically. So as soon as you suspect problems with the anal glands in your dog, you should go straight to the vet.