Dogs and cats have two anal sacs in the anal area. The walls of these sacs contain glands that produce odor secretions.  Excretory ducts are located in the lining of the rectum just before the anus. Normally, the glands are emptied during defecation, leaving characteristic smell for identification and communication among other animals.

A number of dogs have a disorder in which these glands do not empty, but rather overflow, which is uncomfortable for the dog. Dogs with clogged anal glands will usually drag their hind end on the ground in an attempt to empty the glands. They may lick and chew their rectum or chase their tail. Affected animals must be helped by having their glands expressed at regular intervals. If this is neglected, it can lead to enormous overcrowding and inflammation of the gland, knows as sacculitis. Sacculitis can causes abscess which then may burst out through the skin.  This is a smelly and painful condition often confused with rectal bleeding. The drainage or cutaneous fistulas can be bloody and purulent. Such a situation must be addressed by a veterinarian. The veterinarian will investigate and decide on the appropriate treatment - topical antibiotic rinses and products applied to the anus, or general antibiotic therapy. It is often necessary to perform treatment under sedation due to the painfulness of the condition.

If it is necessary to frequently express the anal glands or there are repeated infections, you may decide to permanently remove the glands. This procedure is complicated as there are many local nerves controlling fecal continence. Any changes in the local muscles can affect the anal sphincter, causing fecal incontinence. Despite these risks, the removal of the anal sacs is considered a relatively simple procedure for experienced surgeons.

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