The glands usually empty a little bit of secretion at a time, but there are many reasons why this can build up and result in the glands becoming blocked and sore. The glands don’t empty properly if your pet doesn’t pass faeces (if they are off food, or constipate), or if they have diarrhoea. Some dogs are also prone to anal gland problems due to their individual anatomy.
What are the symptoms of anal gland obstruction and when should I take my pet to see the vet?
Symptoms can include ‘scooting’ or rubbing the bottom on the floor, nibbling or licking the back end or legs, a foul ‘fishy’ smell, or swelling around the bottom.
In the majority of cases, the glands can be expressed by one of our vets or nurses, which results in immediate relief. However, bacteria can get into the gland and result in it becoming infected. This can be incredibly painful and can result in an abscess forming in the area. In these situations, dogs are often unwell and require a course of antibiotics. In more severe or frequent cases, the glands sometimes need to be flushed under sedation or very occasionally removed. In very rare cases dogs can also develop tumours of the anal glands, so if you notice any swellings in the area, it is important to seek veterinary attention!
How do I prevent this condition?
It is possible to help prevent blocked anal glands by feeding a high fibre diet, but some animals still need a regular trip to the vet for the glands to be emptied or “expressed”.
If you notice any signs of swelling, discomfort of smells around your dogs back end, then come into the practice to see one of our vets. Did you know that our Pet Healthcare Plan also includes unlimited free anal gland expression? So if your dog commonly suffers from this, joining our Pet Healthcare plan could save you not only money but it will save you and your pet from having to worry about it developing into a much bigger problem in the future.