Have you ever noticed a really disgusting or odd smell coming from your cat or dogs hind end? Or your pet has been licking back there excessively? They may be releasing or having problems with their anal glands.
What are anal glands?
Anal glands are exactly what their name implies – they are glands that sit at the side of the anus. Their scent works as a territorial marker and normally a small amount is released when an animal defecates – this is why dogs like to smell one another’s feces. Animals can also have spontaneous release of their anal glands – this usually occurs during a time of fear, stress or excitement or with cats, during grooming or extreme happiness.
These glands are perfectly normal and it’s normal for your pet to express them occasionally. The problem is though, that some pets don’t express them naturally and this can cause problems.
What happens if my pet doesn’t express them naturally?
This is actually a quite common occurrence. Anal glands can become impacted if your pet doesn’t express them naturally. This is why during veterinary exams they are checked and why groomers express them manually at the time of a bath. If they are not released, they can become inflamed, which in turn, causes the anal gland secretions to thicken. This will then cause the sacs to become overly full and painful. Your pet will typically scoot or drag their hind end on the floor, excessively lick at their back end or growl when they are touched back there. The thickened material makes a great home for bacterial overgrowth and can rapidly lead to abscesses. These abscesses appear as red, painful, hot swellings on the side of the anus affected. They can also rupture on their own and pus and blood will drain from them. Treatment can vary from antibiotic and pain medication to flushing the anal glands. For some dogs, anal gland impactions can be a chronic problems, and in severe cases surgical removal may be indicated.
For dogs with chronic anal gland problems, Glandex chews can be considered to try as a prevention. Glandex is formulated to encourage anal gland health by helping to create firm, bulky stools that express the anal glands and also contains natural anti-inflammatories and probiotics to encourage a healthy gastrointestinal system. Glandex is available at our office in Brampton and on our webstore at http://www.myvetstore.ca/snelgrovevs
Unfortunately cancer of the anal gland can occur as well. These tumors often grow very rapidly and are malignant meaning that they will spread to other areas of the body. Since these tumors grow inwards, they are often not noticed until they are large enough to cause difficulties passing feces. Any animal that is straining to defecate, should be examined by a veterinarian
Feel free to let me know about any other topics you would like me to write about, Dr. Dallas