By: Revival Animal Health

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Anal gland disease is by far the most common problem affecting a dog’s rear end! It has no age or sex predisposition, but it may be more common in some smaller breeds.

Dogs have two anal glands. If you look at their anus as a clock face, then they are located just below the skin at the five o’clock and seven o’clock positions. Normally you will not be able to see these glands. If they get impacted or infected, then you will probably see them as a small swelling in those positions.

Anal glands are similar to scent glands. In dogs they produce an odor that identifies the individual, marks the stool, and establishes their territory. This is why dogs tend to greet each other by sniffing at the rear. These glands pretty commonly either get impacted, or more seriously get infected. Impacted glands are overfilled and distended. They become painful and itchy, and most commonly dogs will be seen scooting their butt on the floor trying to express them. Your veterinarian will manually express them and relieve the pain, but it is likely that they will get impacted again months or years later. 

If a gland stays impacted for too long, it may get infected. Bacteria make their way into the swollen gland, producing an abscess which eventually ruptures through the skin. They will ooze a bloody, smelly, puss like fluid. These dogs need to be treated with antibiotics and to have the abscessed gland flushed out thoroughly. The best prevention is to have your veterinarian express the gland empty as soon as your dog starts scooting. This can become a chronic problem and sometimes the glands need to be surgically removed.

If you see scooting or swelling around the rear end; take your dog to your veterinarian. While it is rare, dogs can get tumors in this area, which resemble anal gland abscesses. 

It is important to catch these early!

Please note: The materials, information, and answers provided by and through this website are not intended to replace the services of a trained pet health care professional or to be a substitute for medical advice provided by a qualified veterinarian or other appropriate health care professional. You should consult your own veterinarian or other appropriate health care professional on specific medical questions, including matters requiring diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.


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Katherine Reed

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