We see many conditions at our Tampa veterinary clinic but one of the most common things we see is anal gland disease. Our clients will see their pets scooting across the floor, constantly licking at their rear ends, or notice a very strong odor coming from their pets. Most of the time it is nothing more than a nuisance but if left untreated, this can lead to severe, painful infections.
First a little anatomy lesson….The anal glands are 2 small sacs located on either side of the anus connected to the outside world by a small duct. They are designed to make a foul smelling secretion that the dogs use for scent marking. Usually, they are expressed as your dog has a bowel movement but occasionally, this doesn’t happen and our vets need to intervene.
If the sacs aren’t being emptied naturally, that’s when our Beach Park vets in Tampa have to get involved. The glands can get impacted and cause discomfort or pain for our canine friends. This is where the scooting or licking at the rectal area usually starts. Infection can then set in making your pet extremely painful and sometimes this will lead to anal gland rupture with blood and pus. Treating this condition at the licking and scooting stage is important to avoid the infected / ruptured gland.
Our Beach Park veterinarians in Tampa have many different treatment options for anal sac disease based on the severity of symptoms. If the glands are just full, having them manually expressed on a regular basis will help. As stated earlier, sometimes there are low grade infections within the glands that need antibiotics and anti-inflammatories for proper treatment. Chronic infections are sometimes treated with infusion of an antibiotic gel into the anal glands which helps calm the symptoms. This treatment option currently seems to be very effective with the chronic cases. Finally, there is surgical removal of the glands (final option in our opinion) if the glands are continually causing problems.
A little side note: our cat friends also have anal glands. Usually they don’t have many problems with them but our vets have seen impacted, infected and ruptured glands in our feline patients as well. Keep a watch for difficulty defecating, licking at the rear and scooting.
Anal sac disease usually is very mild but can lead to more serious problems if left untreated. Our vets in Tampa regularly diagnose and treat this condition. As with most medical conditions, early detection leads to better treatment outcomes so if you see your pet licking or scooting their rear, get them in to have the glands looked at. Most times, expressing the glands will fix their problem!!
If you have any questions about this, or any other topic, contact our veterinarians in Tampa or check out www.beachparkanimalclinic.com for more pet health information.