Anal Glands

Many of us have seen a dog drag his rear end over the floor or ground, his two hind legs pointing up or straight ahead. The common reaction to this scene is to say the dog has worms. Yes, he could have worms. But he might also have swollen and infected anal glands.

The anal glands are small glands situated inside and just below the anus. There are two glands, one on either side of the anus. Normally, the anal glands secrete a yellowish fluid. Just what the purpose of the anal glands is has never been fully ascertained. It might be that the anal glands once functioned like the scent glands of the skunk. At any rate, these glands become swollen, infected or abscessed. When they do, the dog is in misery. This is the time when he sits on his anal glands, trying to ease the pressure. When your dog starts to drag his rear end, it's time to have him checked for worms or swollen anal glands.

Most of the time, the dog's anal glands simply become overloaded with fluid. And all that is required is to empty the glands. This is a relatively simply chore. But it's an odoriferous one. You can do it yourself or have the veterinarian perform the job. If you want to do it, here's the procedure to follow: First, place the dog on a table or bench and have someone restrain him. Next, see if you can feel the swollen anal glands on the outside of the dog's rectum. Look to the side and just below the anus. You may be able to detect small lumps or nodules. If you can feel the anal glands, you can exert pressure to empty them. But first place a handful of cotton or several layers of gauze over the dog's anus. This will help prevent the anal gland fluid from spraying all over you. Exert pressure on the glands in an upward direction so that the fluid will be forced out of the glands, up into the anus, and then out onto the cotton or gauze. Keep the cotton or gauze up tight against the anus.

If this external pressure fails to empty the glands, you will have to squeeze the glands from inside the anus. Put on a rubber glove and apply Vaseline to the finger being inserted. When your finger is inserted, feel to the right and left, and downward from the anus. After you locate the anal glands, hold some cotton or gauze against the anus. Now you can exert gentle pressure on each anal gland.

After you've emptied the anal glands, keep an eye on the dog for a week or so. If the glands fill up again or the dog shows sign of being in pain, consult your veterinarian. Quite possibly, the anal glands may be infected or abscessed.

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