The fact that dogs have anal glands can serve as a constant reminder that nobody ever said owning a dog was glamorous. They secrete something that, once you’ve smelled it, you’re not likely to ever forget—it smells like rotten fish! Normally, a dog only exudes this substance when it defecates, but occasionally, abnormalities like impaction or infection can make them leak.
What Do Dogs’ Anal Glands Do?
In a dog’s anus, two anal glands are located at eight and four o’clock. These are made up of tiny sacs with drainage ducts that emerge just inside the rectum. The anal sac secretion is located within this sac. This excretion is supposed to serve as a scent marker between dogs, allowing them to demarcate their area. These glands are naturally compressed during a dog’s bowel movement, and the secretions are forced out over the excrement. It could explain why canines are so drawn to the smell of one another’s feces.
All dogs, regardless of breed or gender, have anal glands. However, compared to their larger counterparts, little dogs appear to be more susceptible to anal gland issues.
What Causes to Anal Glands Leaking?
- Impaction of the anal glands
The most frequent reason for anal gland leakage is anal gland impaction. This can happen when the gland’s fluid thickens or gets too granular to pass freely via the duct. Impaction can also happen if the anal glands don’t receive enough external pressure because of poorly formed feces, which is why a healthy diet is important for proper anal gland drainage.
However, there may not always be an obvious cause for a dog’s improper anal gland expression. It is probably caused by an anatomical variation, such as having small ducts, whether that is just how the gland was created or results from earlier inflammation or pathology of the gland. When the affected anal gland enlarges and becomes more uncomfortable, you might see clear clinical indications that something is wrong with your dog’s bottom.
2. Scabies or an infection
Infection and abscess might develop as a result of prolonged impaction. A yellowish or blood-tinged fluid may leak as a result of this, which is excruciatingly uncomfortable for the dog. A perianal fistula, when an opening emerges through the skin a few inches distant from the rectum, may also be the outcome.
3. Anal Gland Tumor
An anal gland tumor is a less frequent reason for anal gland leakage. Although it is mostly painless, it may occasionally be accompanied by certain clinical symptoms like irritability, scooting, and trouble defecating. When the gland is palpated, your veterinarian will detect a hard mass and find it challenging to force out any secretion. Only a biopsy, which is carried out under general anesthesia, can establish the presence of a tumor.
Anal Gland Leakage Symptoms
Anal glands that are leaking include:
- obvious fishy odor
- licking or chewing the bottom
- Scratching the floor with the bottom
- straining while going to the bathroom
- rectum that appears red and inflamed
- generalized behavioral alteration, such as chewing on their feet, seeming uneasy, having trouble settling, etc.
What is the treatment for anal gland leakage?
Get your dog checked out by your veterinarian if you see abnormal anal gland leaks in your dog, especially if there are any further clinical symptoms. They will try to express them by feeling the anal glands. It can simply be the case that your dog has to have them expressed frequently if they are simply swollen but otherwise feel normal and the secretion is a normal color and consistency. Treatment may be necessary to assist them calm their stomach if they have previously had soft stools or an upset stomach in order to help them get their stools back to a good, solid consistency.
The anal gland may need to be physically cleaned out and injected with antibiotics or anti-inflammatories if it is difficult to express, the substance has calcified, or it is contaminated. Since this surgery is a little more invasive, dogs typically need to be sedated or given anaesthetic, particularly if the glands are uncomfortable.
Your dog will likely need a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories for infections, as well as regular checkups to ensure the infection is clearing up and the gland is functioning normally. If a dog’s glands are the source of recurrent infections or other issues, they can be surgically removed to solve the problem once and for all.
Your options will be evaluated if a tumor is found during a biopsy based on its nature and if it has spread. The best course of action will be determined by a veterinary oncologist, and it can entail surgically removing the anal gland, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
How Can I Prevent My Dog From Having Anal Gland Issues?
It is advised to manually express your dog’s anal glands periodically if they are prone to issues. Each canine patient’s frequency is different; some may only be able to go four weeks without having their glands removed, while others might go many months. No matter what, expression stops impaction and prevents future infection and abscess. You might be able to learn how to do this on your own at home, but please seek veterinarian advice first.
There are steps you may take for dogs whose anal glands are rarely bothersome to attempt and minimize problems. Giving your dog a balanced, nutrient-rich meal with enough fiber should maintain their feces soft and pleasant, which is essential for healthy anal glands. Consult your veterinarian for advice on how to improve your dog’s stools if they tend to be soft.
Additionally, dogs who are overweight frequently experience more anal gland issues than dogs who maintain a healthy weight. Less pressure is felt during feces when there is extra body fat around the glands. If you are concerned about your dog’s physical condition, please ask your veterinarian for advice since there are a plethora of additional health advantages to having your dog at an appropriate weight.
In dogs, anal gland issues are typical. Even though your dog may find it unpleasant to have their emotions expressed, it gives them an instant sense of relief, and you’ll notice that they feel better thereafter. Therefore, schedule a visit with your veterinarian or vet nurse as soon as possible if you observe that your dog is scooting, has any anal gland leakage, or is preoccupied with licking their bottom. They will be able to provide you with more information.