BY DMAG 14

by ANDREW M. STREIBER, DVM

Q:  Why is it necessary to have my dog’s anal sacs expressed on a monthly basis?

A:  If your dog needs this procedure on a regular basis, I’m guessing you own a small, miniature or toy breed.

Both cats and dogs posses a small pair of glands or “sacs” located just inside an animal’s anal sphincter.  If one were to imagine a clock face, the anal sacs are located at approximately the 4 and the 8.  The primary role of the sacs is to collect, then express (empty) bacteria-filled secretions on an animal’s feces each time they defecate.  Ever notice how dogs, when meeting another dog for the first time, generally start at the tail end, rather the head?  These secretions also act as a dog’s unique calling card.

On occasion, and primarily in smaller breeds (and occasionally cats), the sacs will not empty properly or completely.  This lack of regular emptying may lead to an anal sac impaction and abscess.  The worst case scenario is an anal sac abscess rupture, which may require sedation, surgical intervention and repair.  So, if you witness your dog “scooting”, dragging its behind against the ground, this may be a sign for you to consult with your veterinarian.