Anal sacs are structures located on either side of the anus. They contain a semi-liquid, vile-smelling material that is normally expelled passively when dogs defecate. Sometimes anal sacs don’t empty properly because of an infection, impaction, an abscess or even a tumor. Bacteria can infect the anal sacs which results in pain and itching. Left untreated, infections can lead to an abscess. Cancerous growths in the anal sacs are found most often in Dachshunds, Cocker Spaniels, German Shepards, Beagles, English Bulldogs and Samoyeds. Some are benign; others can be very aggressive forms of cancer.
* Dog scooting or dragging his hind end across the floor.
* Excess licking or biting at anal area.
* Tail chasing.
WHAT YOU AND YOUR VET CAN DO
* In most cases emptying the sacs by massage and manual expression provides effective relief. Medication may be indicated to relieve pain and treat infection if present. Occasionally, with severe recurrent and persistent anal sac problems a sacculectomy, which is the surgical removal of the anal sacs, is the most humane, cost-effective solution. Having your vet check the anal sacs at 30-day intervals helps prevent some cases from becoming more severe.
* Warm compresses applied to the anal area twice a day for 5 to 10 minutes help relieve pain and discomfort. A dab of Vaseline or mineral oil applied topically is soothing.
Increasing dietary fiber promotes natural anal sac expression. Psyllium is a good source of dietary fiber. Whole grains and seeds are useful and increasing exercise helps prevent obesity.
Silicea 6c given twice a day for three days can be useful for scooting. Hepar sulphuris calcareum 30C is usually recommended for anal sac abscesses. Both treatments are initially given once a day for five days.