Q & A: Anal gland infections

Q: Why do dogs get anal gland infections, what are the symptoms and how serious is the condition?

A: Anal glands are pheromone-secreting glands which lie on each side of the anus. These glands can get blocked and become infected.

Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly what causes them to become blocked. Your dog might show signs like scooting, straining to defecate as well as being itchy.

You might also notice a foul smell when your dog is close by. This condition is not life-threatening, but can be very uncomfortable for your dog.

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent your dog’s anal glands from becoming blocked, although regular exercise does help to reduce the likelihood.

If you think your dog may have blocked or infected anal glands, it is recommended that you see your vet. They will probably need to express the anal glands and empty out its content.

This is a fairly quick and easy procedure. In very severe cases, an anal gland sacculectomy (procedure where the gland is surgically removed) may need to be performed. This is very rarely necessary.

Dr Nicola Colborne, veterinarian

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