All Creatures Veterinary Hospital
4549 HW 62 West
Mountain Home, AR 72653
Anal glands (or anal sacs) are a pair of glands in dogs and cats that are located just inside the rectum. Their purpose
is unclear, but it's thought that perhaps they serve to mark territory or ward off natural predators. They produce a
malodorous fluid that may be released during defecation or in response to a fearful situation.
When the anal gland fluid is not released on a regular basis, the anal glands may become full and cause an uncomfortable or itching sensation to the animal. This usually results in the animal "scooting" around on his/her bottom or licking and chewing at the area. When this occurs, the anal glands can be manually expressed to empty them. We recommend this being done by a veterinarian unless you have been shown how to properly do it. Every individual dog or cat is different in how quickly these glands become full and how often they may need expressed. Some animals need this done as often as once every couple of weeks, others may never need it done.
In some animals, these glands become inflamed or even infected and may require antibiotic or anti-inflammatory medication. Anal glands can also be "rinsed out" by a procedure called flushing that can be performed by a veterinarian. This may be necessary in cases of severe infection or inflammation. Animals with allergies tend to be more prone to having recurrent anal gland problems. In these cases, antihistamines such as Benadryl or Chlorpheniramine, or stronger anti-allergy medication may be helpful in controlling anal gland inflammation. In severe cases and as a last resort to treating chronic anal gland problems, there is a surgery in which the anal glands are removed. This is painful and expensive procedure with potential complications and should be reserved only for cases in which all other efforts to control the problem have failed.
If you have questions concerning anal glands or would like to make an appointment to have your pet's anal glands checked, please call (870) 425-5175.