Anal Gland

Anal Sacs & Diseases

Anal sacs are two hollow structures that serve as a reservoir for an oily secretion that is emptied directly into them.

The purpose of this mechanism are for individual identification and territorial marking. The odor is distinct for each individual. That is why dogs tend to sniff each other beneath the tail.

If the sacs become overly full or inflamed, the dog may suffer considerable discomfort.

Four categories of anal sac disease:
1. Impaction
2. Sacculitis
3. Abscess
4. Neoplasia (tumor)

Impaction
Impaction is most common and happens when the secretion become trapped, stretching and enforcing the sacs. Possible causes of impaction include secretion that is too thick to pass through. Another contributing factor could be weak or sparse muscle fibers surrounding the sacs.

Sacculitis
Sacculitis is when bacteria proliferate in the sacs, usually entering through feces passing over the duct. Secretion turns yellowish, with or without blood, and result to anal sacculitis. Secretion may leak onto the surrounding area, causing anus and underside of the tail to become moist and sticky. 

Abscesses
Is a more advanced stage of sacculitis when the pus is trapped in the sac. This will cause the area to be warm, reddened and very painful. Eventually, it may break through the skin, exuding its contents made up of creamy or bloody thick material.

Neoplasia – Tumor
Tumor of glands are rare and can be a serious problem. It may grow locally, interfering with normal anal tone and function. May also spread or metastasize, to other parts of the body, causing organ dysfunction or even death.

If you suspect your fur kid have any anal sac issue, wait no further. A veterinary visit is a must.

Express Anal Gland

There are two ways to express the anal gland, external and internal. The external technique is done from the outside and is the most common method used. The internal technique we would usually recommend you to get your veterinarian to do it. As it is done with a lubricated finger inserted into the rectum. Usually a preferred method for heavy dogs, tense dogs or dogs with poor muscle tone when the sacs can’t be empty out with external technique.

Expressing anal gland (externally) will release a smelly liquid from the anus. Would advise to do it during shower as you can quickly wash the liquid away and clean your fur baby’s butt.

Steps to do an external technique:
1. Raise the tail to a vertical position.
2. Near the anus at the 4 and 8 o clock position, you might be able to feel a small lump.
3. Using your thumb and index finger, place it at the 4 and 8 o clock position.
4. Push upwards to express the anal gland.

Note: Anal gland may squirt or flow out. Never ever place your face right in front of your fur baby’s rear area when expressing anal gland.