Dog Anal Sacs

"Dog anal sacs can become a problem when fluid builds up inside the gland or pouch. (another name for sac) If you notice a foul smell and swelling of the sacs then you can try and express (empty) the sacs yourself. If infection set in then you will need your veterinarian will empty the sac and use antibiotics to kill the infection. Left untreated an abscess can form in the sacs they could rupture."

Dog anal sacs (also called glands or pouches) sometimes suffer from anal sac disease. This is a condition when the glands are not draining properly. Another term for fluid build up in impaction.

The glands are located at the 5 o'clock and 7 o'clock positions around the outside of the anus. Liquid drains when either your dog is frightened, upset (due to muscle contractions) or when a firm stool passes past the glands on the way out of the body.

Liquid from the anal sacs flow through ducts in the glands. When the ducts become clogged or blocked, or the liquid becomes too thick to pass, then infection can take hold. One infection begins to colonize, it can cause an abscess, which is trapped puss and liquid, and the glands may even rupture.

Other Canine Anal Gland Problems

Other glands in the area such as fistulas (puncture holes around the anus) and rectal polyps (stick out from the anus) may also appear as a canine anal sac problem. Fistulas are seen in breeds such as German Shepherds, Setters and Retrievers. Another problem, Perianal gland tumors (at the base of the tail) , is another problem near the anus that is seen in male dogs over age 7 that have not been neutered.

Symptoms of Problems with the Dog Anal Sacs

You might see your dog scooting across the floor trying to get relief from the pressure in the sacs. Bad smell and green/yellow/black liquid may also indicate the presence of infection. The presence of infection will also cause swelling of the glands.

Treatment for Dog Anal Sacs

To restore the dog health anal gland you need to determine the extent of the problem. The first step to treatment is to empty the canine anal glands by following these instructions. If your dog has fever then the problem is probably an absences (see below).

Emptying the Dog Anal Sacs (expressing the sacs)

You can use your fingers to help your dog empty the sacs or if the foul odor of the liquid means that you need to have them emptied. We suggest wearing latex gloves and possibly doing this procedure in a tub. Afterward a bath is called for.

The easiest way is to lift your dog's tail with your hand. Using the other hand gently squeeze the skin on each side of the gland. You should be able to see and feel a pea sized gland if they are full.

You can also put the tip of your forefinger in the anus and use the thumb to apply pressure to one of the glands.

Infection of the Dog Anal Sacs (sacculitis)

If the glands are swollen then there could be a presence of infection. YOu may also notice liquid which has a bit of blood or if yellow in color. Your veterinarian will start by emptying the sacs. AFter that antibiotics will be put into the gland to treat the infection.

If the glands continue to become infection after treatment, then they can be removed with a surgical procedure.

Dog Anal Sacs - Abscesses

In severe cases an abscess will form. This is a term that described the buildup of fluid. The glands will begin to change color, start with red and then purple. As the gland becomes infected and swells it can rupture through the skin. The sac can't be emptied with the fingers, with your veterinarian possibly lancing the sacs in order to help them drain.

Prevention of Problems with the Dog Anal Sacs

The first step in preventing problems with the canine anal sacs is to make sure your dog's stools are firm. A common cause of this problem is from feeding your dog table scraps. Consider a high fiber diet instead. Like in humans, fiber helps firm up stools. You could also provide your dog with a high fiber supplement such as PetAlive Natural Moves. This product is made specifically to help your dog with this type of problem and contains psylllium, an excellent source of fiber.

You could also try natural remedies associated with gland support. One product to research that is made to help dogs with anal gland problems is AnalGlandz. Check with your veterinarian so that he or she can monitor your dog's progress with this type of product.

Ask a Vet for Free 24/7