Dogs with Anal Sac Problems
Our dog, Scooter, has been licking at his hind end and dragging his bottom along the floor lately. Our children think this is quite funny to watch, but we are concerned that something may be wrong. Is Scooter alright?
It sounds as if Scooter may have a problem with his anal sacs or anal glands. These are found beneath the skin on each side of the anus and they contain or secrete a strong, penetrating and unpleasant odor. The anal sacs of dogs and cats are similar to the "scent gland" of skunks, but their function is not as well defined. The anal sacs may be emptied involuntarily when an animal is disturbed, scared, or excited. Sometimes, however, they may become overly filled, impacted, or infected. This occurs occasionally in cats but is relatively common in dogs. When this type of problem develops, the pet will usually lick the area repeatedly or drag their hind quarters along the floor, as Scooter is doing. These over-filled, inflamed or infected glands must be expressed or emptied by your veterinarian. This painful condition could progress to the point of an anal sac abscess, which would require antibiotics and surgical drainage if left unexamined.