Lassie

Anal sac inflammation in dogs

Dogs sometimes "go rabbit" and drag their bottoms to the ground. If this happens more than normal, it may be due to irritation from the rear end, and could be anal sac inflammation, other causes of itching and discomfort also exist! Some dogs never have problems with anal sac inflammation while other dogs are not so lucky and suffer from the problems recurrently, it is very individual. If your dog has suffered from anal sac inflammation, you can seek veterinary advice to try to reduce the risk of recurrent problems.

What are anal sacs?

The anal sacs are two glands that sit on either side of the anal opening. The contents are normally emptied regularly when the dog has a bowel movement, for example. Sometimes the emptying does not work and in some cases the anal sacs can become inflamed, but they can also become inflamed for other reasons.

Symptoms of anal sac inflammation

The dog may have symptoms such as "caning" (dragging its bottom on the floor/ground) or licking its bottom. At a later stage there may be visible redness, swelling and the dog may be sore in the area.
Try to see where the dog is licking, for example bitches may sometimes lick the vulva, which may have other causes. If the dog is licking at or just near the anal opening, it may indicate a problem with the anal sacs.

When should I seek veterinary care?

If you suspect your dog has a problem - contact a vet. Sometimes the vet can drain the anal sacs but if there is a lot of inflammation the dog will often need to be sedated for examination, it also sometimes happens that an abscess has formed, which can burst.

Advice on care while waiting to be seen by a vet

If your dog is experiencing symptoms and you suspect that it may be anal sac inflammation, we recommend that you contact a vet and follow these care instructions while waiting for an examination:
  • Use a collar to prevent the dog from licking its bottom
  • Shower the area with lukewarm water twice a day, preferably for several minutes, until you visit the vet.
If the dog's condition should worsen and the dog is found to be in a lot of pain or if the dog's anal sac ruptures, you must see a vet urgently. If an anal sac ruptures, blood can often be seen in the fur right next to the anal opening. Of course this hurts!

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