Dog Anal Glands Infections And Abscesses - Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Dog Anal Glands Infections And Abscesses – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

For better defecation, dogs have anal sacs, which are two small glands located inside the anus. The anal glands are responsible for releasing lubricating substances that help in the expulsion of feces. Each one of these sacs is a kind of warehouse for these lubricating secretions.

These glands are marked by their strong odor; however, they are highly functional. Dogs have been known to suffer from anal gland issues, leading to inflammation and infection, causing them significant pain and discomfort. Infection can affect either one or both glands, depending on the severity.

Infection Of Dog Anal Glands

Why the anal glands of our dogs become infected is a problem that is not fully understood. However, it is certain that there are several factors that predispose the appearance of this problem. These may be the breed of our canine, having had recent diarrhea, poor muscle tone, or glandular hypersecretion. Also, the retention of fecaloid substances can lead to infections or adverse reactions that end up resulting in the formation of abscesses.

There are three main types of diseases that tend to present themselves in dog anal glands:

  • Impaction: This type of infection is characterized by accumulating a pasty fluid inside the anal sacs
  • Sacculitis: This is the inflammation or infection of the anal gland
  • Abscessess: This can be observed through the appearance of purulent material that shows blood

It is quite possible that these forms of presenting illness also correspond to the different phases of their clinical evolution.

Anal fistulas are also very possible. If so, the impacted anal holes and sacs will be infected, subsequently resulting in an inflammation of their own mucosa. This may be diminished if the gland is ruptured inside the tissues with greater depth or if it also drains a mucosa made up of pus and blood to the outside. They may have symptoms of pain, strong odor, constipation, or rectal discharge.

A malignant tumor, such as adenocarcinoma of the apocrine glands may also appear, with some regional lymphatic spread. If so, we will feel a lump in one of the anal or pararectal sacs; we will see an accelerated decrease in weight, vomiting, constipation, or perianal inflammation. They usually cause metastases in the lymph nodes and also affect the spleen or liver, although less frequently. To carry out the differential diagnosis, we must include all the pathologies that could affect the perineum or the anus.

As we have commented, this problem can be repeated over time, and one and both glands can be affected. The anal glands can be found under the tail.

Treating Anal Gland Abscesses

Naturally, the vast majority of our dogs will be able to empty their anal sacs on their own. On the contrary, over time, some of them lose this capacity, which can cause the health problems mentioned above.

Depending on the clinical phase of the infection, the treatment will be one or the other, which is why it is important to carry out an adequate diagnosis. For example, in both sacculitis and impaction cases, it is convenient to manually drain the sacs. However, in cases of abscesses, it is best to perform a removal by surgery or thermal cauterization.

Thus, the first cases discussed will be treated with antibiotic ointments and corticosteroids. However, in cases of abscesses, treatment will likely consist of systemic antibiotic therapy.

As a last recommendation, if your dog regularly suffers from impaction of the glands, it is best to give them food that is rich in fiber. This will maintain good hygiene inside the perineum and facilitate good transit.

Prognosis Of Dog Anal Gland Infection

Although at times, we may be concerned due to the appearance of our dog, the truth is that the prognosis for this type of infection is usually good even when a surgical process is necessary as post-surgical complications are rare.

Purpose Of Dog Anal Glands

The truth is that talking about dog anal glands is not one of the most pleasant topics. However, it is very important to do so as a fundamental part of the health of our dogs. If they do not work correctly, they can lead to great discomfort, pain, and even serious infections in our dog.

It is known to all that dogs mark their territory through urine. Not only that, but they also use it to get to know each other, since they read characteristics in it. However, what most people do not know is that they also work the same way with stool.

As we mentioned at the beginning, all dogs have two small glands on each side of their anus. These glands, in turn, are filled with a liquid that carries an exclusive scent. That is, when our dog defecates, it expels a liquid that is something like its signature. In this way, it would indicate to other dogs that this land is theirs.

If for some reason, these glands were not emptied naturally in the defecation process, it would cause discomfort in the dog. This could represent pain, or perhaps itching or stinging, as well as a strong odor. The problem also increases if the infection becomes chronic, the solution in some extreme cases being to surgically remove the affected anal glands.

Importance Of A Healthy Diet

The famous scientist, Phivo, after encountering problems with his dogs, created a vegan diet rich in fiber, and to his surprise, it was found that the stools of his dogs grew considerably in size.

It was there that he realized that there were many dogs that had difficulty or could not empty their glands based on a diet of meat and bones. Observing this, he called his friends and family and told them to put the new diet into practice to see what would happen with their dogs. And indeed, the dogs managed to enjoy an exceptional state of their anal glands.

If your dog is unable to empty its anal glands on its own, you will have to do it yourself either through manual expression or a proper diet.

Below is a recipe that you can give your dog in place of their second meal of the day. It helps clean the colon and generate more movement in the intestines.


  • 250 milliliters of bone broth
  • 3 tablespoons of psyllium husk

Heat the bone broth on the stove and use a spoon to mix in the 3 tablespoons of psyllium husk. Let the mixture cool completely before offering it to your dog, as hot foods will burn their tongue.

Feed him this way for two to three days until he is completely emptied. This broth can be an incentive or stimulant for your dog to eat. Therefore, if we see that he appreciates it and enjoys it, do not hesitate to give it to him from time to time as a compliment to anal health.

You will have to talk and be in contact with your veterinarian since, if after this his stools do not improve and change in size, you may have to increase the amount of psyllium that you administer.

Likewise, you may find that your dog has some difficulty expelling feces. You will see this if a part hangs onto them. It is not pleasant at all, but we will have to pull them if we want no major complication to occur.

And finally, it is best to notify your dog’s veterinarian of any changes that you observe in your dog, as feces is a fundamental indicator of your dog’s health. You must stay alert to any malformations, difficulty defecating, or strange behavior.

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