Anal Sacculitis

Overview

Anal sacculitis in UK dog breeds is a condition that affects the anus, the anal sacs and surrounding areas of the dog’s rear.

All dog breeds have anal sacs, or sometimes referred to as anal glands, which are fundamental to their species and social behaviour.

Dog’s anal glands are used when marking new territory and when meeting new dogs as a way of identification. Not only are anal glands fundamental for UK dog social interactions, they are also used by our puppies when feeling anxious or scared.

A dog suffering from anal sacculitis will see these anal sacs inflamed and filled with fluid. This fluid and inflammation is particularly foul smelling as well as irritating for the dog.

Dogs with the condition will experience itching, pain and much like most conditions, an obsession with licking and scratching the affected areas. This behaviour can lead to ruptures and abscesses which in turn can lead to other knock on conditions.

Symptoms

Typically UK dogs suffering from anal sacculitis will see at least one of the following:

  • Excessive licking and scratching of the anus or surrounding area.
  • Rubbing of the anus on surfaces particularly carpeted areas of the home or grass when outside.
  • Foul smelling discharge from the anus left on surfaces the dog has been on.
  • Pain and strain exhibited by the dog when defecating.
  • Whimpering and anxiety displayed by the dog when sitting.

Whilst a very high percentage of dogs regardless of breed will express at least one of these symptoms, symptomless suffers have been observed. In these rare cases the condition can be identified by a vet upon inspection.

If left untreated the condition can and will develop into an abscess or lesion around the anal sac. This abscess can then rupture and discharge blood.

Affected Breeds

Anal sacculitis is seen by UK dog owners of breeds varying across the board. The condition does not appear to discriminate by breed but does seem to be substantially more of an issue for smaller breed.

Dog breeds statistically at a higher risk of this condition tend to be:

Treatment

Once anal sacculitis is diagnosed by a UK veterinarian, treatment will largely depend on the severity of the infection and the level of discomfort the dog is experiencing.

A UK vet in most cases will firstly perform a manual expression of the anal sacs. This procedure will need to be repeated regularly until the condition has passed.

Along with the manual expression of the anal sac, UK veterinarians will also advise on a diet change. Fibre is seen a as a nutrient that is particularly useful in these situations along with antibiotics places directly into the affected areas.

If the anal sac has been left untreated or seen complication and subsequently abscesses have appeared it will be highly likely that surgery is now the only option.

Anal sacculectomy is the common surgical procedure carried out by UK veterinarians to remove the abscesses and to treat the affected areas in an attempt to cure the dog of anal sacculitis.

Treatment Success Rate

Whether a non-surgical or surgical approach is needed as outlined above, the success rate of curing the dog or puppy is very high.

With that being said, anal sacculitis often returns. It is unknown why this happens but the likelihood of the condition returning is no higher than the chances of the dog getting the condition in the first place.

That is to say that the condition does appear to be relatively random in its occurrences. Sticking to a healthy diet for your dog and being sure to address any health conditions particularly skin irritations is a good step on preventing the condition but unfortunately not a fool proof one.

Further Reading

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