Anal Sacs (also known as anal glands) are a pair of small sacs or glands normally a few millimetres in diameter that sit a small distance from the edge of your dog’s or cat’s bottom. The lining of these sacs produces a smelly secretion. Each time a stool is passed it presses gently on these sacs and they empty through a duct / tube onto the stool. This gives each dog / cat its own scent. In the wild they are used as territory markers, nowadays they have no useful function.
Anal Sacculitis: The bottom and surrounding tissue is a very sensitive area. The glands can become distended and when they do, they are very uncomfortable. Dogs with a sore bottom commonly adopt the classic “scooting” position. Others do some odd things when their glands cause them pain or discomfort; some will lick / chew at their flanks, some will lick obsessively at their paws (a distraction behaviour), and others just go quiet. We shouldn’t underestimate how chronically uncomfortable these glands can be.
Anal glands become over filled and / or painful for many reasons:
- Not emptying fully; if the stools are too soft or intermittently loose.
- Infection; the glands can fill up with pus, similar to an abscess.
- Anatomical problems; the position of the glands and the diameter and length of the ducts can make normal emptying of the glands difficult. This can be exacerbated by excess fat in the pelvic canal and around the bottom.
- Over-production of anal gland secretions; more common with dogs that have skin problems.
- Inflammation; seen as a primary condition in some dogs, such as those with immune mediated conditions (e.g. cocker spaniels).
Managing anal gland problems:
- Weight management; very important.
- Dietary management; a high fibre diet will help produce a good quality stool, encouraging normal anal gland emptying.
- Manual emptying; This is not pleasant for owner, dog or vet but will often resolve mild anal gland disease. While weight and diet can help reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms, many dogs prone to anal gland problems will require a regular trip to the vet.
- Medications; Pain killers, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics are often required. Sometimes these medications are placed directly into the glands (known as anal gland ’packing’).
- Surgery; Anal Saculectomy is the surgical name for removal of the anal glands. This should be considered a last resort for cases refractory to other management / treatment options. This is also a common procedure for the treatment of certain conditions of the anal glands, such as tumours.
Patients fitting the criteria for anal saculectomy surgery require a general anaesthetic and an enema, to remove faeces from the rectum. The anal glands are thoroughly flushed with antiseptic solution before being filled with a special putty to distend them. A small incision is then made over each gland, the duct is sealed and the gland removed. The small skin wounds typically heal uneventfully.
For more information or to discuss this surgery in more detail with one of our veterinary surgeons please contact us at the practice on 015394 88555 or visit the referrals section of our website at www.oakhillvetgroup.co.uk
What is included?
At Oakhill Vets we strive to ensure our surgeries are ‘all inclusive’ and so this surgery INCLUDES the following:
- Pre-anaesthetic blood screen
- Hospitalisation (up to two nights total in the 24-hour pre/post-op period)
- Intravenous fluids during the anaesthetic and surgery
- General Anaesthesia
- Post-operative medication (for up to two weeks) and collar to prevent self-trauma of surgical site
- 24-hour post-operative laser / cold-pack treatmen
What is not included?
Cases involving pathologies of the anal glands, such as tumours (neoplasia / cancer) will need to be discussed prior to surgery. Our ‘all inclusive’ pricing does not include costs associated with imaging (such as X-rays, CT scans and ultrasonography), extensive surgery or laboratory fees (such as histopathology) which are often necessary during the pre-operative, operative and post-operative management of such conditions.
Post-operative complications are not common, but are possible. While we endeavour to give you an upfront, all-inclusive estimate, when it comes to pets recovering from surgery there is unfortunately an element of unpredictability!
Complications, which may incur additional costs include (but are not limited to):
- Faecal incontinence
- Self-trauma by pet to surgical site
- Post-operative wound infection
Payment is expected in full at the time of consultation or upon discharge from Oakhill Vets. If your pet is insured we would request that you pay for your their treatment and claim the funds back from your insurance company. Once you have settled the cost of any treatment we can help you complete your insurance claim form(s) at no additional charge. Direct claims may be arranged with some insurance companies and are subject to a check with our referral coordinators prior to your appointment. An administration fee is chargeable each time a direct claim is carried out by our referral coordinators. If you have any concerns about payment then please contact us prior to your consultation.
Why choose Oakhill Veterinary Referrals?
Oakhill Vets is based in Windermere in the beautiful Lake District. We are happy to take referrals from clients further afield. Let our friendly, highly skilled and experienced team of Veterinary Surgeons and Registered Veterinary Nurses look after your pet while you relax and enjoy a short break in The Lakes. For more details please phone the practice and speak to one of our helpful referral coordinators on 015394 88555.