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Anal Glands 

Submitted by Bev Carter, Damascusroad

Does your Pomeranian "scoot",or drag his bottom, along the floor, even at times when when his rear end appears to be clean . . . at least on the outside? If you notice your Pom doing this, it is probably a sign that the anal glands need to be emptied or expressed.

Anal glands are little sacks on either side of the anus. They produce a brownish, foul smelling substance that is used to mark his territory. Left unattended, anal glands can become swollen and infected, and in some cases even rupture which is very painful for your dog and very expensive for you as it requires veterinary intervention.

The easiest way to avoid anal gland problems is to get into the habit of regularly expressing them. If you're a bit squeamish, you can ask your groomer (if you use a groomer) or your vet to do it for you. Its quite a simple procedure, however, and you can easily learn to do it yourself. I've found the best time to do it is at bath time . . . you don't have to worry about the mess, and the clean-up is a breeze. It takes a bit of practice, but its very easy to do once you learn how.

For those of you who don't know how to do this, here is a slightly edited article that I found on the web explaining the procedure. Its one of the few articles I turned up that gives a good explanation in layman's terms that anyone can understand.


Anal Glands
(structure, impact and expression)
by Jennie BullockEvery dog has two anal glands or sacs (1 gland on each side of the anus).  These glands are occasionally referred to as "scent glands", because they enable the dog to mark its territory and to identify each other. We have all seen how dogs greet each other by sniffing at the other's rear.

The anal sacs are normally expressed (emptied) by rectal pressure during defecation.  The secretion from the anal glands is a brownish liquid, although is can become thick, yellowish or creamy looking.  The anal sacs can also be emptied by contraction of the anal sphincter.  This  involuntary contraction can be due to the dog being upset, frightened or under pressure, or the contractions can be triggered by the dog to leave its mark upon territory.  Constricting the anal sphincter not only marks the territory, it permeates the dog with that characteristic "doggy" odor.

Impaction of the Anal Glands
When the anal glands fail to empty normally, the result can be impaction. Impaction is most common in small dog breeds, but can occur in any dog. Among the causes of anal gland impaction are : soft stools, small anal gland openings and overactive anal glands.  The anal gland secretions become thick and pasty. Anal gland impaction is treated by manual emptying of the glands.

Emptying the Anal Glands
Prepare a warm moist wash cloth or towel. Raise the dog's tail and locate the anal glands.  The glands should be at approximately 5 o'clock and seven o'clock positions in relation to the anal circumference. You will feels the glands as small firm nodules in the perianal area.  Place the cloth over the area.  Position your thumb on one gland and index finger on the opposite gland. By pressing in and squeezing your fingers toward each other the glands should empty. Wipe the area clean with the cloth. Repeat if necessary.


If  the discharge is bloody or purulent in appearance there is probably an anal gland infection - treat as described below.

Infected Anal Glands
        This condition is recognized by the presence of blood or pus in the anal gland secretions. The dog may also exhibit discomfort when the glands are emptying or do a great deal of scooting.

Treatment: empty the glands as described above. Once the glands are empty and the area cleansed, fill the gland with antibiotic ointment (such as Panalog) by placing the tip of the tube into the duct opening to the anal gland and squeeze the tube to fill the gland. Repeat this process every two days until the anal gland secretions are no longer showing signs of blood or pus. The dog may also need oral antibiotics, as your veterinarian may advise.

Note that this article is for information purposes only,

and is not intended to replace the advice of your veterinarian.

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