One common reason (and, unfortunately, one of the least dignified reasons!) for your pet to visit the vet is impacted anal glands. Here are a few comments concerning this subject.
Anal glands are small sacs that are located on each side of the rectum. Each sac empties into the rectum through a small hole. When that hole gets plugged, the sac fills with material resulting in discomfort for the pet, and the dog often responds by scooting around on it’s behind (trying to put pressure on the plugged gland to empty it). We see this regularly in dogs, but seldom in cats. “Expressing” the anal glands involves the vet placing proper pressure on the glands to empty them. Improperly expressing anal glands can result in rupture or infection. Most dogs tolerate this procedure pretty well, all things considered!!
Impacted anal glands can cause a wide variety of signs including:
- The pet may “scoot” around on it’s behind.
- Excessive chewing or scratching around the tail/behind.
- Pain when having bowel movements.
Most dogs with impacted anal glands do not recur after the glands are expressed. A few dogs, however, develop a recurring problem that requires repeated expression or possibly surgery. Foods that are high in fiber and keeping your pet from becoming over weight may help. If you think your pet is experiencing discomfort from anal glands, or if you notice any swelling in the rectal area, it is important to have him/her examined by a veterinarian. Swelling in the rectal area of cats is especially important to have examined. Although impacted anal glands are not dangerous to your pet’s health, there are a number of other conditions (perianal fistulas, tumors, etc.) that can certainly be dangerous. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions! about 6 years of age, many things inside your pet start to change, things that require the care you give your pet to change too!