Impacted anal glands on a dog are troublesome, and if not treated can cause serious issues. However, there is a simple process that can be done by your veterinarian for a minimal cost. In the UK, depending on where you reside, the average cost for anal gland expression is between £10 and £30.
Generally, a dog is capable of expressing its own anal glands without any assistance. Sacs located inside the rectum near the anus are expressed when a dog poops. The feces presses against the glands to emit the stored foul-smelling substance. If this doesn’t occur naturally, an intervention by a vet or groomer needs to happen.
This article will cover the causes for impacted anal glands, the symptoms, and worse case scenarios if not rectified.
Blocked anal glands in dogs occur when the glands become swollen, and the liquid inside can’t be excreted naturally. When this happens, it’s typically painful for the dog to defecate. So why do dogs’ anal glands fill up? Anal glands in dogs can become blocked for numerous reasons. For instance, a dog that is obese, or has poor muscle tone is at a higher risk than a dog who is fit and exercises. Small dogs are especially prone to clogged anal glands because of their body conformation.
Other more serious causes for a dog’s bum glands to become blocked is because of an infection, a tumor, or even trauma to the anal area. A dog who produces loose or runny stools has a more substantial chance of their glands filling to the point they can’t express naturally because of the lack of hard stools pushing on the sacs.
Certain symptoms of blocked anal glands are fairly visible. The depth of the symptoms will determine whether or not your dog requires a professional’s assistance in manually expressing the glands.
Dogs with blocked anal glands exhibit certain behaviours such as scooting or rubbing their bum on the ground; or biting excessively near their tails or backside. The anal area will become red and possibly swollen. Sometimes, you will notice a reddish-brown discharge with an extremely foul odor. They will often struggle to defecate, and they might experience pain while trying.
In other circumstances, you might notice a visible abscess or a hole near the anal area that produces that same thick, red or brown mucous.
When you become aware of these symptoms, it is imperative that you contact your veterinarian and explain what is happening, when you first noticed your dog’s behaviour, and the duration of occurrence.
Impacted glands are not life-threatening, however, if not treated, may cause a serious infection or potential anal gland cancer. A veterinarian can immediately detect if your dog’s anal glands are impacted by a routine rectal exam, then take proper steps to manually express them. In addition, your vet may provide steroids or other inflammatory medication and antibiotics. If impacted glands on your dog is a recurring problem, the veterinarian may suggest gland removal.
Altering a dog’s diet can have a positive result in preventing a dog from having impacted glands. Speak with your veterinarian about possible food alternatives. He/she may suggest adding fish oil or fiber such as canned pumpkin to food. Furthermore, eliminating obesity and exercising your dog to achieve a better muscle tone, can greatly reduce the chances of blocked anal glands.
Though the expression procedure is fairly affordable, prevention is a better solution for your dog as well as you.
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