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House of Paws Pet Salon

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Remembering Vinny
 
"Can you do those..... glands?"
 
When someone walks into House of Paws and says "I have a weird question."  We know it's usually something to do with anal glands.
Trust us, this isn't weird!    We do not recommend routine anal gland expression. We have been told by veterinarians that glands should only be done when there is indication of a problem. Even then, there may be some advantage to having them done by your vet, who is able to express them internally and empty the glands more effeciently that we can, since we do them externally.
Here is the 411 on anal glands:
 
*All predators, whether they are canines or felines in the wild or skunks in your backyard, have anal glands. They just use them differently. Skunks discharge the secretion from these glands as a form of defense, while dogs use it primarily for territorial marking or as a form of communication. In dogs and cats, every time a stool is passed, it should put enough pressure on the anal glands that some of the secretion is deposited on the surface of the stool. Other dogs and cats are then able to tell who has been in the neighborhood, just by sniffing the stools they find. Additionally, dogs and cats recognize each other by smelling each other in the general area of the anus, since each animal's anal glands produce a unique scent.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Anal gland impactions, infections, and abscesses can occur. Here is how: For various reasons, such as the conformation of the animals, the thickness of the gland's secretions, or the softness of the stool, these glands and their ducts often become clogged, or 'impacted.' When this occurs, the animal will sit down on its rear quarters and drag its anal area across the floor or ground. This is called 'scooting.' Both dogs and cats may lick the anal area excessively. Impacted anal glands are a very, very common problem for dogs, especially the smaller breeds.

Anal glands may also become infected and abscess. Bacteria make their way into the glands, probably through the ducts. This is a very painful condition, and the first sign you may see is that the animal attempts to bite or scratch when you touch the area near the tail.

Treatment and prevention

When the glands become impacted, a veterinarian, groomer, or the pet's owner must clean them out, or 'express' them. This empties the glands of material. It is done by applying pressure with the finger, start below the gland and then pushing upwards.

 

 
*This information was taken directly from Doctors Foster and Smith website, PetEducation.com.  For more information about this, click here.