Naperville dog with anal glands

Did you know that your dog (and cat) has two glands right inside the rectal sphincter that house some pretty stinky stuff? If you aren’t familiar with anal glands, you are about to be. Lucky for you, Naperville Animal Hospital has all the information you (never) wanted to know about your pet’s anal glands. Our veterinary team will care for the smelly parts of your family friends just as much as the more lovable parts.

Anal Glands 101

Most mammals have anal glands in some form. These pea-to-marble-sized sacs live just inside the rectum off to each side. Lined with oil and sweat producing glands, they hold some pretty unique secretions that have a distinct fishy odor.

In dogs and cats, the anal glands are not really functional. They may add some scent to the stools as they are expressed typically during a bowel movement, aiding in marking territory and communication. More often than not, they are just a pain in the behind. Literally.

When the anal glands become too full and aren’t able to express, problems can ensue. Pressure, inflammation, and pain often cause the pet to:

  • Have redness or swelling near the rectum
  • Act painful about manipulation of the tail or rear
  • Lick or bite at the rear more than normal
  • Scoot or drag
  • Avoid bowel movements
  • Have a bloody discharge from the rectum 

Untreated, an impacted anal gland can beccome infected and form an abscess and may even rupture. Anal glands are also subject to developing cancer. 

How Naperville Veterinary Services Can Help

Our team is ready to help if you think your pet may be having a problem with their anal glands. Call us right a way, as this can be a painful condition. We can also help prevent problems, too. 

Routine wellness visits are an excellent opportunity for us to detect trouble early in the process. These visits are also a great time to help wrangle conditions predisposing pets to anal gland problems such as being overweight, having frequent soft stools, or allergies (including food allergies). 

If a pet has recurrent issues with their anal glands, routine manual expression may also be in order. We recommend having this done with one of our expert staff so that it may be completed as effectively and comfortably as possible.

Anal glands can be a big problem, but with the help of the veterinary services at Naperville Animal Hospital, you can rest easier. We will take care of the dirty work for you.