GLANDS (OR SACS)
On either side of the anus of
the dog is situated an anal gland, which secretes a lubricant that better
enables the dog to expel the contents of the rectum. These glands
are subject to being clogged, and in them accumulates a fetid mass.
This accumulation is not, strictly speaking, a disease-unless it becomes
infected and purulent. Almost all dogs have it, and most of them are
neglected without serious consequences. However, they are better if
they are relieved. Their spirits improve, their eyes brighten, and
even their coats gradually grow more lively if the putrid mass is occasionally
squeezed out of the anus.
*An excerpt from the book The
Complete Bulldog by Bailey C. Hanes copyrighted 1956
These sacs are sometimes referred
to as the "scent" glands. In the skunk they serve a protective purpose.
In the dog they appear to be of use in territorial marking , and to enable
dogs to identify one another. This probably accounts for the fact
that dogs greet each other by sniffing at the other's rear.
|The anal glands or sacs
are located at about the five and seven (or four and eight) o'clock
positions if you imagine the area around the rectum to be a clock
face. It is usually possible to feel them under the skin at these
points when they are full. In some dogs the sacs can be pretty far
to the side of the rectum but most are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch to the
The anal sacs normally are
emptied by rectal pressure during defecation. Anal sacs also
are emptied whenever there is sudden contraction of the anal sphincter.
This causes a characteristic odor when a dog is upset, frightened or under
pressure. The secretion is liquid and brownish. At times it
may be thick or creamy, yellow, gray, tan, brown or black and be normal.
Blood or other colored exudates may indicate a problem.
The most frequent sign of anal
sacs or glands being full and needing to be manually expressed is the
Bulldog scooting, which can be accompanied by a strong, foul pungent odor.
Because Bulldogs can also have problems with tight irritated and sometimes
infection under the tail, one must discern if the scooting is from a tail
problem, or anal sac problem.
When you have confirmed that
full anal glands (or sacs) is your Bulldog's problem, making sure
that the tail is not in the way; the openings of the anal sacs are
found by drawing down on the skin of the lower part of the anus.
By applying a small amount of pressure directly below these openings,
fluid can be expressed.
To avoid the expense of having
the sacs emptied, you can learn to empty them yourself at home but most
people feel it is well worth having someone else perform this service.
If the sacs need to be emptied every few weeks or more, you may opt to
have the sacs permanently removed. Ask your veterinarian for details.
If you are interested in this procedure make sure your veterinarian is
experienced with Bulldogs and their special anesthesia needs.
EXPRESSING THE ANAL GLANDS
A rag or tissue is held up to
the anus and both sides of the anal area are squeezed. If the secretion
is very pasty, this method may be inadequate to empty the sacs.
If the glands are pressed against each other by pinching the rectal area
together they will usually express. It is hard to get them as empty as
the vet can by doing this rectally but most pets tolerate it better so
it can be done more frequently. Don't push so hard that you rupture an
anal sac, as this can lead to significant problems.
NOTE: If the process
of squeezing out of the glands is neglected, the glands sometimes become
infected and surgery becomes necessary. This is seldom the case, but
if needful at all, it must be entrusted to a skillful veterinary surgeon
well experienced with Bulldog's anesthesia requirements.
A lubricated gloved finger
is inserted in the anus and the sac is squeezed between thumb &
forefinger into a tissue held externally. The procedure is repeated
on the opposite side.
If the sacs have been emptied
adequately, the scooting should resolve in a couple of days.
The Complete Bulldog by Bailey
C. Hanes copyrighted 1956
Dog Owner's Home Veterinary
Handbook by Delbert G. Carlson, D.V.M. and James M. Giffin, M.D.
Article Contributed by Mindy