Anal Sac Disease – Everything You Need To Know

Anal sac disease is a prevalent disease in dogs and is of various types. Different diagnosis options detect anal sac disease in dogs to prevent and treat its spread. Let’s get into the details.

What Is Anal Sac Disease?

The anal sacs are commonly affected as a result of urinary duct irritation. The secretion thickens within the impacted sacs, causing the sacs to swell and constrict. Your dog will therefore find it challenging to pass excrement. In addition, the released excretion within the anal sacs is the cause of bacterial development, resulting in abscesses.

To understand anal sac disease in detail, we should know what anal glands and anal sacs are.

Anal glands secrete a vital and oily fluid retained in the anal sacs, positioned between the muscles that permit the dog to store feces in the rectum until he can eliminate it. The secretion is kept to identify territories. Both sides of the dog’s anus have two apertures where the anal sacs are empty. Sphincter muscles compress the anal sacs and drive the fluids onto the surface of the excrement when the anus is expanded and excreta is released. Anal sacs are generally referred to as anal glands and are present in male and female dogs.

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Is Anal Sac Disease Common In Dogs?

Yes, anal sac disease is common in dogs. So, anal sac disease might be the cause whenever you see your dog scooting. Your dog may even face issues while passing stool. Hence, it would help to take your dog to the vet to rule out the problems. 

Causes Of Anal Sac Disease In Dogs

Anal sac disease can be very uncomfortable for your dog. There can be various causes of anal sac disease. We have listed a few of the reasons:

  • Diarrhea
  • Chronic soft stool
  • Obesity
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Environmental allergies
  • Food allergies
  • Dermatitis
  • Fiber deficiency
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Change in stool consistency
  • Intestinal tumor

Is Anal Sac Disease A Complicated Issue?

No, anal sac disease is not complicated if the problem just impacted the anal sac. Look for the symptoms to avoid complications. The difficulties start when the issue is overlooked for a long time and left untreated. 

Symptoms Of Anal Sac Disease In Dogs

To understand whether your dog has anal sac disease or not, you will have to closely look into the symptoms which have appeared on your dog:

  • Scooting
  • Difficulties in eliminating
  • Excessive anal area licking
  • Releasing pungent/strong odor
  • Anal gland fluid leakage
  • Inflammation in the anal gland and sac area
  • Bleeding in the anal gland and sac area

Stages Of Anal Sac Disease In Dogs

Anal Sac Disease in dogs can develop in various stages. Here we have listed the developmental stages:

Impacted anal sac: This situation is when the oily secretion becomes thick and sticky. This obstructs the anal sac and makes your dogs uncomfortable. 

Infected anal sac: The infection in the anal sac occurs when the secretion is not expressed naturally or by an external force. The secretion inside becomes thick and results in this disease. There will be pus oozing out of the infection, and the dog will face excruciating pain. 

Abscessed anal sac: This is when the secretion cannot be expressed anymore. The pressure will be generated inside the anal duct, and there will be a sudden rupture through the dog’s skin. The treatment of the abscessed anal sac needs surgical intervention making it extremely painful for the dog. 

Diagnostic Test To Detect Anal Sac Disease In Dogs

There are various methods a vet can use to diagnose anal sac disease in dogs:

  • Physical examination
  • Microscopy
  • Ultrasonography
  • Biopsy

The vets also depend upon digital rectal examination for infection, impaction, and abscessation. These tests reveal the presence of bacteria and polymorphonuclear leukocytes. In addition, they use ultrasonography to detect if the non-expressible anal sac infection has occurred due to abscessation. If the vet suspects a tumor in the anal sac, he preferably depends on a biopsy. 

Home Remedies To Treat Anal Sac Disease In Dogs

To heal your dog at home, you will have to make sure your dog eats fibrous food. First, you must add fibrous food to your dog’s diet. This will produce large and firm stools, which can release the fluid secreted in the sac due to the pressure of eliminating the feces. You can also use Glandex medicine for your dog. However, this must be only provided after you consult the vet. 

Provide your pet with:

  • Canned pumpkin for intestinal health. Ensure it doesn’t contain Xylitol, which is lethal for dogs.
  • Supplements such as fish oil, Omega 3, and Omega 6 fatty acids for anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Hypoallergenic diet.
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Treatments and Side Effects of Anal Sac Disease In Dogs

The vet needs to express the glands and empty the sacs to treat the anal sac disease. At times, the condition becomes so severe that it requires the removal of solidified materials. However, the removal of hardened materials is painful for the canines. Hence, the vet uses anesthesia to numb the area. Next, the vets take the help of clindamycin, an antibiotic. These antibiotics are prescribed according to the severity of the disease. Few dogs can have it orally; for a few dogs, the vets inject and instill the medicine in the sac. 

How To Prevent Anal Sac Disease In Dogs?

It is essential to prevent anal sac disease in dogs, as it can be painful to them. Now, preventing anal sac disease is not very overwhelming! Dog’s diet and lifestyle are the most important to maintain. You must strictly follow your dog’s diet as designed by the vet. In addition, you must provide your dog with enough exercise according to his sex, weight, size, and breed. 

Are Some Breeds More Prone to Anal Sac Disease?

Here are some dog breeds more affected by anal sac disease:

  • Chihuahua
  • Toy and Miniature Poodle
  • Basset Hounds
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Beagles
  • Cocker Spaniels

Frequently Asked Questions

Are anal sacs in dogs affected by other problems?

Older dogs suffer from cancer in the anal sacs called adencarcinoma. Hence, take your dog immediately to the vet if the symptoms mentioned earlier are observed in your pet. 

Should my dogs compulsorily have anal sacs? Conversely, will the removal of anal sacs affect my dog?

The pungent odor from the anal sac secretion helps your dog to mark his territory. However, this is not needed for our trained pets, so removing anal sacs will not affect your pet.

Will surgical removal of my dog’s anal sacs risk his life?

Removing your dog’s anal sacs is a delicate and specialized surgery. Though a few vets regularly perform this surgery, he recommends a board-certified surgeon in severe cases. After surgery, dogs experience loose stools or cannot control their bowels for one to three weeks. 

Videos on Anal Sac Disease

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Dog’s Anal Gland Problems: 12 Ways to Prevent and Treat 

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Dog anal gland infection or abscess. How a vet diagnosis and treats with Dr. Dan

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