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Anal Gland Problems

Dogs have anal glands (sacs) positioned on either side of the anus that release a liquid substance onto fecal matter. It's not uncommon for these sacs to become irritated, causing your dog discomfort.
Anal Gland Function
You may be wondering wha exactly anal glands do. In healthy dogs, the sacs produce a thick, brown, foul-smelling liquid. This liquid gets deposited onto bowel movements when your dog defecates. Experts believe dogs have developed this evolutionary trait as a way of scent-marking their territory. When dogs smell one another's fecal matter, they're able to know who has been in whose territory.
Anal Gland Discomfort
It's not uncommon for the draining ducts of each anal sac to become clogged with the gland substance. As a result, the gland becomes engorged and causes irritation. Most times, you will see a dog try to relieve this doscomfort by draggingtheir hindquarters along the ground, or by chewing and licking at the anal area. This is often mistaken to mean that the dog has worms--while this is possible,anal gland enlargement is acutally much more likely. One good thing is that it's not difficult to have anal gland build-up relieved.If you see your dog exhibiting the above symptoms for mroe than a day or two, let your vet know. Your veterinarian or veterinary technicians will be able to release the gland pressure. Most often this is acheived by gently squeezing the anal gland to squirt out the liquid while simultaneously performing a rectal exam. In fact, this is often performed as a regular part of a dog's grooming appointment. While anal gland enlargement is relatively common and easy to treat, more rare problems like infection of the anal glands can also occur. In these cases, antiobiotics, abscess draining or even surgical procedures may be necessary.
Preventing Anal Gland Problems
While there is no effective way to completely preent anal gland problems, recognizing the symptoms and acting early is the best way to avoid any complications.For unknown reasons, some dogs seems to be more prone to anal gland issues than others. Surgery to remove the anal glands entirely may be beneficial for these pets. It is not recommended for every dog, but some can live a better life after such a procedure.