Anal Sac Disease

Anal sac disease is a very common disorder seen mostly in dogs and less in cats. Pets of any age or sex are affected. Anal sacs are two sacs on the sides of the anus. They normally produce scented liquid material that is naturally eliminated during defecation or other activities. On occasion the material is not evacuated and is accumulated in the sac. This can happen due to occlusion of the opening of the sac, thickening of the material or impaired emptying mechanism. The sac becomes swollen and painful and the discomfort induces the above-mentioned signs. Later the sac may become infected, leading to an abscess formation and sever pain. The abscess then ruptures and purulent discharge and bleeding follow.  

Common signs of anal sac disease are scooting, excessive licking or biting at the tail or anal area, frequent attempts to defecate, rear-end pain, behavioral changes, bad odor, anal area discharge or bleeding, perianal swelling and redness. The best way to address the problem is preventing it from occurring. Healthy lifestyle, food and exercise help in the normal function of the anal sacs. Regular veterinary checkups are also important. In case the sac becomes diseased, a prompt trip to the vet is necessary. Depending on the phase and form of the disorder (i.e. impaction, infection, abscessation) the veterinarian will apply the appropriate treatment procedure, starting with manual anal sac evacuation and ending in surgery. The problem may reoccur and require long term, periodic medical attention.

In addition, scooting and other signs we mentioned can indicate other problems such as tumors in the area, rectal disorders, flea infestation, intestinal worms and more. A thorough physical exam and appropriate diagnostic procedures are necessary to correctly treat the pet.

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