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Dog's anal glands: inflammation and cleaning of the anal sinuses

Anal glands in a dog

Thing anal glands (or more precisely - perianal sinuses) is not a pleasant subject, but is unfortunately sometimes unavoidable when it comes to keeping your dog healthy.

Many pets' keepers are not aware of the existence of such structures at all.

And very good, because healthy glands do not cause any problems and their quiet functioning is not noticed by the animal or its owner.

The matter becomes more complicated when it comes to too much build up of the secretions they produce either inflammation, or - even worse - perianal sinus tumors.

Then the problems begin, prompting your pet, and also you, to direct your interest mainly to the back areas of the dog's body.

So if your pet behaves restlessly, often "sledging" (that is, it makes strange, riding movements of its buttocks on the floor, while having its hind legs pointing forward), it pays special attention to the tail and what is happening under it, intensely there he licks, additionally he squeals when he tries to defecate - be sure to read this article.

Your client may show symptoms inflammation or even obstruction of the perianal sinuses.

  • What are the anal glands?
  • Construction of the perianal sinuses
  • Inflammation of the anal glands in a dog
  • Perianal sinus dysfunction
  • Perianal sinus abscess
  • Anal gland neoplasms
  • Obstruction of the perianal sinus
  • Predisposition to diseases of the anal glands
  • Symptoms of perianal sinus disease
  • Diseases of the perianal sinuses - diagnosis
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Diseases of the anal glands - treatment
    • Surgery to remove the perianal sinuses
    • Complications after surgery to remove the perianal sinuses
    • Post-operative care
    • Prognosis
    • Prevention
  • How to prevent clogging of the anal glands?
    • Karma
    • Diagnosis and treatment of diarrhea
    • Diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases
    • Identifying and treating allergies
    • Monitoring and observation
    • Prevention of obesity
  • Cleaning the dog's anal glands [step by step

What are the anal glands?

Anal glands are paired, modified skin appendages that are located around the anal sphincter, on both sides of it, around 4 and 8 o'clock.

The wall of these pouch-like structures is lined on the inside with epithelium and contains modified apocrine and sebaceous glands.

It is these glands - not very famous - that raise so many questions and controversies among pet caretakers.


They produce some very specific secretion, the smell of which often provokes strong reactions among more sensitive owners.

No wonder - this substance with a pasty consistency, strong, disgusting smell and a color very clearly associated with something not very pleasant, it certainly does not fit into the canons of aesthetics.

Fortunately, it doesn't have to.

Under proper conditions, it is hidden from the world in the dark corners of the dog's (and feline's) anus, and evacuated imperceptibly in equally intimate situations, e.g. during defecation.

Construction of the perianal sinuses

As already mentioned, the perianal sinuses lie on both sides of the anus, between the external and internal anal sphincter muscles.

They are nothing but a paired skin indentation, lined with modified sweat and sebaceous glands.

The secretion of these glands is collected in the sinus lumen, and then (during contraction of the sphincter muscle) is evacuated through the duct leading to the outside.

The mouths of both sinuses are roughly in the 4-5 o'clock and 7-8 o'clock positions.

The glands located in perianal sinuses they produce mucus almost all the time, and it is naturally removed in situations such as passing stools or very strong arousal.

This is when the anal sphincter muscle contracts, which is a prerequisite for the evacuation of sinus secretions.

The perianal sinuses are often referred to as rectal glands, approximately rectal or perianal.

However, from an anatomical point of view, this is not a correct name.

When talking about "glands " and their emptying, clogging or rinsing, we rather mean sinus (i.e. larger structures, containing light in which secretions accumulate), and the actual glands, which are much smaller, only line their lumen and perform a secretory function.

However, it is customary to talk about perianal glands and for the purposes of this article, we will conditionally stick to this nomenclature.

We all know that dogs mark the area by informing other representatives of their species about their presence in it.

Few, however, are aware of the fact that these animals do it, inter alia, through the active secretory work of the glands present in the perianal sinuses.

They produce a particularly thick, oily, foul-smelling discharge that contains pheromones.

Its scent is specific and unique to each dog.

This is some kind of identification number or signature by which the pooch leaves information to his kin.

Most likely, this trait is atavism, inherited from wild ancestors.

During defecation, this smell is spread and reaches the noses of all - more or less - interested.

Of course, we humans cannot (and do not want to) identify animals with these types of characteristics.

However, in nature it is a very important message and a brilliant form of information transmission.

It is this mysterious reason why dogs sniff other dogs' crotch at the moment of meeting.

When greeting, they stand with taut, straightened tails, allowing the other species to sniff their backs.

In addition, the secretion that is evacuated during defecation covers the stool, giving it a kind of "slippage ".

In addition, by being modified sweat glands, they help the body eliminate toxins and substances that are no longer needed.

The sinuses and their glands normally function perfectly properly.

Often, keepers of their pets do not even know that their dog or cat has this type of structure and, when concerned, report that they sometimes smell a really unpleasant smell from their pet.

In most cases it is simply the smell of glandular secretions and, unless accompanied by other disturbing symptoms, it is most likely perfectly normal.

Domestic animals such as dogs and cats have largely lost the ability to empty the anal glands on their own.

Under proper conditions, secretions can be evacuated in situations such as movement (walking), defecation, and sometimes during times of high excitement or stress, leading to a sudden change in the climate in the immediate vicinity of the dog.

The situation is different when it happens for various reasons perianal sinus diseases.

This happens in various situations, e.g. by clogging, inflammation, abscesses, if tumors, and due to some kind of "marginal" importance of the area, disturbing symptoms are sometimes downplayed by the owners.

And the sinuses get sick, causing the animal more and more pain and discomfort when defecating.

So let's see what diseases affect the perianal sinuses and what are the ways of dealing with them.

The most common anal gland problems in dogs are:

  • Inflammation of the anal glands in a dog.
  • Sinus dysfunction (that is, incorrect or no spontaneous sinus emptying), often leading to obstruction of the sinus tract.
  • Abscess (and even rupture / perforation of the perianal sinus due to obstruction of the exit tube).
  • Anal sinus tumors.

Inflammation of the anal glands in a dog

Inflammation of the anal glands in a dog

Perianal sinusitis is relatively common in dogs because in 1 in 10 individuals at least once in their lifetime diagnosed with inflammation.

Usually it is induced infection and blockage of the exhaust duct.

It is kind of a vicious cycle as one state leads to another and vice versa.

Ongoing inflammation increases the secretion of the glands lining the sinuses, and such a large amount of secretion is an ideal breeding ground for developing microorganisms.

The longer the process takes, the more secretions accumulate in the sinuses, leading to their significant "distension" and sinus damage.

At some point, the wall of the bag no longer withstands the pressure prevailing in its lumen and breaks.

This happens when the exhaust line is blocked.

With the accompanying infection, an emergence occurs fistulas.

This is one of the worst scenarios for the course of sinusitis in dogs.

However, the inflammatory process is not solely due to obstruction.

Sinusitis is very common in dogs for completely "mundane " reasons, such as too much mucus build-up.

Then they are relatively easily emptied, and there is much more secretion (due to hyper-secretion), it has a liquid consistency and may contain creamy-yellow granules, and even lint.

Factors such as:

  • infections,
  • deep bacterial or fungal skin inflammations,
  • mite infestations (e.g. Demodex - Demodex, Sarcoptes - scabies),
  • hormonal factors (e.g. Hypothyroidism),
  • allergic factors (food and environmental allergens),
  • idiopathic factors (with unknown cause),
  • weakening of the anal sphincter (e.g. as a result of chronic diarrhea),
  • anal relaxation,
  • constipation,
  • obesity,
  • injuries or diseases of the sacro-lumbar spine; nerves departing from this section provide impulses to the muscles corresponding to this area, as well as to the anus, bladder and perianal sinuses; in the case of any neurological disorders - apart from other, often more serious problems - sinus dysfunction may develop.

All these factors interfere with the discharge of secretions from the sinuses, leading to their inflammation.

Perianal sinus dysfunction

Problems with improper emptying of the anal sinuses can be related to:

An improperly balanced diet

The reason why food plays such a role in the evacuation of mucus is because the food your dog is getting may not contain enough fiber.

It also happens in situations where the animal is fed mostly soft food.

Due to the addition of dietary fiber to the feed, the volume of the stool increases.

This results in the anal sphincter having to expand sufficiently during defecation for the stool to be expelled.

This is exactly where the perianal sinuses compress and empty.

Diarrhea (most often chronic)

The occurrence of diarrhea is a problem in itself, and - as it lasts longer - it is a factor that deprives the pooch of the possibility of evacuating the contents of the perianal sinuses.

But it is not only diarrheal states that lead to their overflow.

It is enough for a dog's stool to be simply softer and more plastic for some time.

It does not then perform its "mechanical" function, and therefore the secretion from the sinuses is not evacuated.

The anatomical structure of the perianal sinuses

For example, smaller and thinner discharge lines significantly reduce the possibility of an efficient sinus emptying.

The location of the perianal sinuses

In many dogs, the sinuses are quite deeply sunken, which can make it difficult to evacuate in a normal, physiological manner.

Overproduction of glands or increased secretion density

Various situations lead to an increase in the secretion of glands, but most often it is the result of hypersensitivity or allergies.

Weak muscle tone of the anal sphincters, which can be caused not only by diarrhea, but also neurological, metabolic and hormonal disorders.

The above-mentioned factors have one thing in common - their consequence is the pathological accumulation of secretions in the sinuses and (often) the lack of its proper removal, which in turn can lead to obstruction of the perianal sinus.

Perianal sinus abscess

Formation of an abscess within the sinus occurs when it is already severely inflamed and appears infection.

One of the main symptoms is swelling and bulging in the sinus area, which is visible to the pooch's guardian.

Symptoms accompanying the inflammation, such as reddening, increasing the warmth and pain they are also present here.

There is so much pus in the advanced state that the sinus ruptures and forms fistulas.

It may be accompanied by fever and poor general condition of the animal.

Treatment of an abscess consists of:

  • performing warm compresses (eg. with the use of a hot water bottle, hot pack),
  • cutting the abscess to flush and drain it,
  • the use of local and general antibiotics,
  • the daily toilet of this place by a dog handler.

Anal gland neoplasms

Perianal adenoma symptoms

The most common neoplastic tumor affecting the anal sinus glands is adenocarcinoma.

Adenocarcinoma is:

  • malicious,
  • fast growing,
  • easily metastatic tumor.

Despite the fact that it occurs relatively rarely in dogs, it behaves unfortunately very deceptively - even with a very small size of the primary tumor, located in the perianal sinus, it easily infiltrates the surrounding tissues and gives distant metastases.

The average age at which a dog develops a tumor is about 10 years.

It occurs with equal frequency in both sexes, and has no specific racial predisposition.

However, it has been noticed that it is relatively more common in cocker spaniels.

Most often, these tumors are one-sided, which means that they usually develop in only one sinus.

The signs of cancer can vary, but they are most often similar to those associated with all sinus problems.

Symptoms of adenocarcinoma in a dog include:

  • One-sided swelling, located in the immediate vicinity of the anus. Initially, a lump or tumor in the close vicinity of the perianal sinus may be visible, often spreading deeper, and ulcerations appear on its surface. It happens that the deformity is not visible, and the nodule is detected during rectal examination - then a thickening or a larger mass in the area of ​​the sinus is felt.
  • Constipation.
  • Pain or strain when you have a bowel movement.
  • Blood in the stool of the dog.
  • If renal failure is present (due to increased calcium levels in the blood) the dog may have an increased frequency and / or amount of urination and excessive thirst.
  •  It is worth noting that even in the presence of a large tumor, but without the enlargement of the lymph nodes in the abdominal cavity, problems with defecation may not be significant.
  • Symptoms of renal failure (related to hypercalcaemia):
    • increased thirst,
    • increased urination,
    • vomiting,
    • loss of appetite,
    • weakness,
    • apathy.

Adenocarcinoma of the perianal sinuses - diagnosis

The clinical picture itself, together with paraneoplastic hypercalcemia may suggest a malignant background of nodular lesions.

Paraneoplastic syndrome appears due to the malfunction of the tumor on the body.

The classic systemic symptoms are:

  • increased thirst,
  • polyuria,
  • muscle weakness,
  • slow heart rate,
  • increased levels of calcium in the blood,
  • the development of renal failure is also possible.

This does not mean that normal blood calcium levels rule out cancer.

The fact is that hypercalcemia occurs only in 25% cases of adenocarcinoma of the anal sinuses in dogs.

The final diagnosis is therefore only possible on the basis of histopathological examination of the biopsy (usually obtained with a fine needle biopsy) or a fragment of the tumor (after its surgical excision).

Histopathological examination provides a lot of valuable prognostic information, such as:

  • degree of malignancy,
  • presence and / or probability of local recurrence or distant metastases,
  • the surgical margin that tells us whether the tumor has been completely removed or if there are any cells left in the body.

Blood tests are indispensable when adenocarcinoma is suspected. They allow the general condition of the patient to be assessed and possible hypercalcemia or renal failure to be detected.

They are also extremely important for the further prognosis of the dog's survival time imaging tests.

Chest X-ray (in 3 projections) can detect metastases or other heart or lung abnormalities.

On the other hand abdominal ultrasound examination allows to detect enlarged lymph nodes, as well as the presence of distant metastases and other changes in internal organs (kidneys, spleen, liver).

Exactly that enlarged lymph nodes they are most often the cause of the dog's difficult defecation.

In a diagnosis situation adenocarcinoma treatment should be based on the surgical removal of as much of the tumor as possible.

It is the most important, basic and proven method of influencing the length of survival of dogs with perianal sinus cancer.

Unfortunately, a radical, sufficiently wide surgical incision is not always possible (due to the proximity of the rectum and anus), hence recurrences after tumor removal relatively often appear.

If a large tumor mass needs to be removed, there may be (temporary or permanent) complications after the procedure, such as. fecal incontinence .

If you have enlarged lymph nodes in the abdominal cavity (and this happens around 50% of the time) - their removal can significantly reduce constipation and alleviate problems related to defecation.

If the dog already has hypercalcemia and / or renal failure, it is necessary to correct the acid-base, metabolic and water-electrolyte imbalances as much as possible before surgery.

The dog may require drips and other intravenous medications to reduce the risks of anesthesia and surgery.

Unfortunately, it happens that renal failure is permanent and it is impossible to completely eliminate nitrogen.

After the postoperative wound has healed, introduction is recommended chemotherapy, electrochemotherapy or radiation therapy to slow down the relapse or spread of cancer.

Complications after surgery to remove the adenocarcinoma include:

  • postoperative wound infection,
  • separation of the edges of the wound,
  • fecal incontinence, especially after removal of large tumor masses; this serious postoperative complication occurs in approx 1/3 of the dogs; as a rule, it is a temporary state; due to the fact that adenocarcinomas usually affect only one side, the dog usually has a problem with only controlling bowel movements, but the actual faecal incontinence rarely occurs (unlike when removing both perianal sinuses).

Post-operative care

Usually, 1 - 2 days after the procedure, the patient is released home (provided that his condition is good and there are no complications).

The guardian of the dog receives a set of medicines to be administered at home - most often these are antibiotics and painkillers.

As long as the swelling does not subside after treatment, administration is recommended stool relaxants.

It is obligatory to prevent the animal from licking the surgical wound for a period of time 10 - 14 days.

The most optimal way is to put the dog on Elizabethan collar for this time.

For approx 2 weeks it is advisable to limit activity, and walks should only be carried out on a leash.

It is now the responsibility of the owner to care for the wound hygiene; due to the possibility of faecal incontinence, the daily toilet of the incision area should be followed in an even more restrictive way than after the procedure in another, more clean area of ​​the body.

After each defecation of the dog, the anal area should be cleaned and the surgical wound should be disinfected.

This is very important as this location of the cut is conducive to infections.


The prognosis depends strictly on:

  • the type of treatment,
  • the size of the tumor,
  • the presence of hypercalcemia,
  • kidney failure,
  • enlarged lymph nodes,
  • possible metastases.

Abdominal ultrasound and chest radiography tell us if the cancer has spread.

Anal sinus tumors they are very often malicious and they can give metastases to regional lymph nodes, and then to distant organs.

Due to the fact that recurrence and / or metastasis are quite frequent, the average survival time of dogs after surgery is approximately 8 months. Early detection and radical removal of the nodule, combined with pharmacological treatment, may improve the prognosis.

Obstruction of the perianal sinus

Is it the most common problem in dogs' perianal sinuses.

In some situations they are not emptied properly, and the secretion of the glands, which is normally quite fluid, becomes thicker and drier, making it difficult or even impossible for it to flow through the thin evacuation tube.

Then, a thick substance accumulates in the lumen of these baggy structures, which pushes their walls apart, leading to pain symptoms in the animal.

Often the pressure in the sinus is so high that it leads to the formation of fissures in the sinus wall and the formation of fistulas.

Causes of a clogged dog's anal glands:

  • sinusitis,
  • infections (e.g. sinus abscess),
  • obstruction of the exhaust duct (which always leads to infection and sinusitis),
  • combination of these factors,
  • tumor.

Symptoms of a clogged dog's anal glands:

  • discomfort and pain in the anal area,
  • painful and prolonged defecation,
  • licking, scratching, rubbing the anal area,
  • discomfort when sitting down,
  • chasing your own tail,
  • unpleasant smell from the mouth,
  • sudden jumping while resting.
Fortunately, treatment is generally not complicated and is usually limited to manual emptying of the perianal sinuses.

Predisposition to diseases of the anal glands

Predisposition to diseases of the anal glands

Pathological conditions of the perianal sinuses can affect dogs of any age, regardless of breed or gender.

However, dogs of small or miniature breeds (e.g. poodles, Chihuahuas, dachshunds, toy breeds) get sick more often.

It happens that they coexist dermatoses, like for example. seborrheic dermatitis, predispose to sinusitis.

Symptoms of perianal sinus disease

Symptoms of perianal sinus disease

The most common symptom reported by a concerned caregiver is irritation of the anus, manifested by intense licking, scratching, and even biting its area or tail.

It is accompanied by severe anxiety and nervousness of the patient.

The dog often sledges as if trying to get rid of something stuck under its tail.

The owners inform that for some time the dog has changed its behavior, started to be interested in "the back ", chasing its own tail.

They also often smell an unpleasant odor.

On walks, the pooch is sometimes restless.

There are problems with passing faeces, the animal becomes tense, it may squeak.

Constipation is a fairly common symptom perianal sinus diseases - the reason is that the animal refrains from defecating because it causes pain.

Not infrequently fresh blood is present in your dog's faeces (it can appear in the form of streaks, drops, and rarely stains the entire surface of the stool; however, it is found only superficially).

If there is a strong infection, it can go into generalized dermatitis.

General symptoms appear in more advanced and / or chronic inflammation of the perianal sinuses.

The animal can be listless, refuse to eat if traffic.

When sinus secretions become infected, they can develop sinus abscess.

Then, general symptoms also appear, such as:

  • lack of appetite,
  • reluctance to move,
  • the dog experiences considerable discomfort while sitting and therefore avoids this position,
  • fever is not uncommon,
  • the animal is losing weight,
  • cachexia becomes noticeable.

Diseases of the perianal sinuses - diagnosis

The diagnosis of sinus diseases is not complicated and, as a rule, specific clinical symptoms, combined with rectal examination, allow the disease process to be located.

In an interview, it is very common to get information from the owner about some irregularities noticed in the dog in recent weeks.

For example, a caregiver reports that the animal has diarrhea or soft stools.

Even physiological heat may have contributed to the onset of sinusitis.

Symptoms reported by a concerned caregiver at the outset lead to suspicion of perianal sinus conditions.

Indeed, in many cases the area around the anus may be swollen and show signs of inflammation:

  • reddening of the skin,
  • increasing its warmth,
  • soreness when touched,
  • swelling.

If you have a fistula as a result of an abscess or massive sinus enlargement, you may notice a wound, fissure, or other tissue defect around the anus, where purulent discharge most often oozes.

It may be accompanied by a fever.

Rectal examination reveals enlarged and most often very sensitive perianal sinuses with a firm or even firm consistency.

Sinus contents may be normal (pale yellow, slightly sticky, cheesy or grainy) or abnormal (gray or brown, brown, yellow or green, bloody, purulent, grainy, cloudy, opaque).

It is often not possible to evacuate the secretions from the sick sinuses.

The patient may also have other abnormalities, such as:

  • abscesses of the perineum or rectum,
  • anal stricture,
  • perineal fistulas.

Based on the nature of the discharge, the consistency of the sinuses, and their degree of sensitivity to palpation, it is possible to conclude about the type of disorder affecting the perianal sinuses.

Perianal sinusitis occurs when palpation is accompanied by moderate or high degree of palpation ache, and discharge is liquid, yellowish cream, bloody or purulent.

Sinus obstruction is not as painful as sinusitis, but it is very full, even distended, and it is difficult to evacuate mucus.

In the case of an abscess of this structure, when the enlargement of the sinus is accompanied by the presence of purulent exudate, the following may also be present:

  • inflammation of the subcutaneous tissue of the surrounding tissues,
  • reddening of the skin,
  • ache,
  • fever.

The most serious condition in the course of non-cancerous sinus disease is disruption of the perianal sinus - then there is a fistula accompanied by exudate (serous-blood, purulent, etc.).

In the case of suspicion of a cancer of the perianal sinuses, additional tests should be used - so it will be necessary to perform a biopsy with histopathological examination, as well as blood and imaging tests (X-ray, ultrasound).

Fistulography is helpful in determining the course of the fistula tract.

Blood tests (morphological and biochemical) are not specific. There may be leukocytosis with a left shift in the presence of a perianal sinus abscess.

However, they are of great importance Pap smear tests and bacteriological secretions.

In the event of inflammation, a fairly large amount of leukocytes and bacteria will be present.

Normal bacterial flora of a healthy perianal sinus contains the following bacteria:

  • Micrococks,
  • Escherichia coli,
  • Streptococcus faecalis,
  • Staphylococcus spp.

In conditions of inflammation, they are found in greater amounts:

  • Streptococcus faecalis,
  • Clostridium perfringens,
  • Escherichia coli,
  • Proteus spp.,
  • Staphylococcus spp.,
  • microsteps,
  • difteroids.

Differential diagnosis

Do the listed symptoms clearly indicate disease processes in the perianal sinuses??

Oh no.

These types of symptoms may also accompany other diseases and conditions, therefore the differential diagnosis should always take into account the possibility of such disorders as:

  • Allergic conditions such as flea allergy or food allergy (intense licking, chewing, and even self-injury, especially in the sacrum and lumbar region as well as the buttocks and thighs, are a hallmark of flea allergy dermatitis; and food allergies are very often accompanied by recurrent inflammation of the ears. and perianal sinuses).
  • Anal tumor (swelling and ulceration of the skin in this location may be visible).
  • A perianal fistula.
  • Skin phlegmon of the tail fold (it often turns into purulent sinus conditions).
  • Skin infection.
  • Inflammation of the vagina.
  • Internal parasite infestations.
  • If perineal edema is present, other causes should be considered, including:
    • hernia of the pelvic diaphragm (perineal), located perianal,
    • cancer of the anal area,
    • an overgrowth of the perianal glands (these are small structures located around the anus, partly also on the buttocks, having nothing to do with the perianal sinuses).
  • Anal atresia.
  • Handpiece pythiosis.
  • Rectal prolapse through the anus.
  • Many other.

Diseases of the anal glands - treatment

Treatment depends on the severity of the inflammation.

The most common treatments for perianal sinusitis include:

  • manual removal of secretions,
  • rinsing the sinuses,
  • administering topical antibiotics,
  • change of diet.

Particular attention should be paid to the parallel treatment of coexisting skin diseases or allergic conditions.

In case of mild perianal sinusitis or them clogging, the first step is removal of residual secretions.

Then the sinuses are rinsed with mild disinfectants (at the beginning salt, later rivanol or betadine solution; some also use ear cleaning preparations containing tris - edta and / or chlorhexidine).

The operation may be completed by rinsing the sinuses with a solution containing antibiotics and glucocorticosteroids.

Changing your diet to one that contains increased amount of dietary fiber, leads to an increase in the volume of fecal masses, thanks to which the sphincter is stretched and the sinuses are compressed, and consequently provokes their emptying during defecation.

Sometimes it may be warranted to administer painkillers and anti-inflammatories.

In more serious cases, it is necessary even weekly emptying and rinsing the perianal sinuses.

In serious, chronic situations, general antibiotic therapy is necessary.

It is best to choose an antibiotic based on the result bacteriological examination with an antibiotic pattern.

In the case of perianal sinus abscesses, incision, emptying and rinsing are recommended.

In the case of abscesses, they work well warm compresses:

A warm (not hot) hot water bottle or hot-pack is applied 2 - 3 times a day for 15 - 20 minutes.

Of course, a general administration of antibiotics is also required.

Occasionally, surgical debridement may be necessary in the event of a drainage duct obstruction or sinus abscess.

This procedure is performed under anesthesia, the sinuses are opened and rinsed with antiseptic solutions.

Then an antibiotic is applied to the lumen of the sinus.

It may be necessary to repeat this type of procedure twice a week for 2-3 weeks until it is completely healed.

If it comes to ruptures of the diseased sinus may need to be assumed drain.

It is a flat, rubber tube through which material from the inside of the bay is evacuated to the surface of the skin.

The purpose of leaving the drain is that the skin does not close too soon, allowing battery exudate to flow out rather than trapping it inside.

Doing so guarantees recovery in the best possible way:

from the inside to the outside.

In addition, by daily rinsing the sinus, bacteria that still accumulate and multiply are quickly removed from its lumen.

The drain remains in place until there is no longer any contaminated material in the bay.

If the treatment process is successful, the tube is removed most often after 3-4 days.

Surgery to remove the perianal sinuses

In bothersome, recurrent and chronic conditions, when pharmacological treatment is ineffective or when there is a suspicion of cancer of the perianal sinuses, it is recommended their surgical excision.

However, it is not always possible to carry out scheduled procedures.

It happens that as a result of chronic processes, a fistula is formed after rupture of the perianal sinus.

In this case, surgical intervention is possible after the inflammation has healed.

As a rule, both sinuses are removed during the procedure, even if the disease process was located only on one side.

However, surgical intervention in this region is burdened possible complications, therefore, a decision about it should be made only when the applied treatment is ineffective or there is a risk of a neoplastic process.

Complications after surgery to remove the perianal sinuses

During the first 2 weeks after the procedure, the following complications are possible:

  • infection,
  • separation of the edges of the wound,
  • excessive leak,
  • tobogganing,
  • inflammation,
  • the formation of seromas,
  • fecal incontinence - one of the most important complications that can be temporary or permanent.

Long-term complications are most often:

  • licking the anal area,
  • fecal incontinence,
  • anal strictures,
  • the formation of a fistula around the anus - this most often indicates that a fragment of the sinus was left during the procedure; then surgical removal of the residue is necessary, otherwise the fistula and inflammation will persist.
  • painful thrust,
  • prolapse of the rectum,
  • blood in the stool of the dog,
  • disturbed defecation, vocalization during defecation.

Post-operative care

Care after surgery

After surgery to remove the perianal sinuses, painkillers and antibiotics are given.

It is extremely important to keep the area of ​​surgical cuts clean.

First, prevent the patient from licking these places - the best way to do this is to put them on Elizabethan collar for the entire period of wound healing.

Cleaning the wound daily, washing the wound with mild disinfectants, and keeping the area clean (especially after each bowel movement) are key to preventing infection.

For the first 2 - 3 weeks after surgery is administered laxatives (in case of constipation) or softening the feces.

These include, among others:

  • sodium docusate,
  • bisacodyl,
  • lactulose.

Post-operative wounds should be monitored, paying particular attention to signs of infection (edema, purulent exudate, reddening of the area) and possible wound dehiscence.

You should generally restrict your dog's movement and only walks on a leash.

You also need to keep your bowel movements regular.

At first, faecal incontinence may be noticeable, but usually the sphincters regain their efficiency within a few weeks after the procedure.


The prognosis depends strictly on the advancement of the process, its nature as well as comorbid or underlying diseases of the sinuses.

As a rule, dogs respond fairly well to drug treatment alone, especially if gland problems are previously diagnosed, well-treated, unrelated to cancer or a perianal fistula.

If there is a perianal fistula or the disease is cancerous, prognosis worsens.


It is very difficult to prevent inflammation or other sinus problems due to the fact that so little is known about their etiology.

However, it is worth taking into account the predisposing factors and based on them prophylaxis.

Actions should take into account the prevention of other problems as well, and if they do arise - their effective treatment.

I mean all skin diseases in the course of which it occurs seborrhea, increased activity of the anal sinus glands, which may be present e.g. in the course of allergies, improper diet, insufficient muscle tone of the anal sphincters or be associated with racial predisposition.

Never assume that a sled dog has no problem with anal sinuses and that the problem will go away on its own.

The longer it lasts, the more the animal discomforts and the more serious and longer the treatment can be.

Therefore, if you see your dog sliding across the carpet, leaving behind a thin trickle of strange goo, take him to the doctor as soon as possible.

How to prevent clogging of the anal glands?

Prevention of perianal gland diseases

Due to the lack of a specific cause underlying hypersecretionism and perianal sinus problems, there is no specific treatment to prevent such conditions.

Fortunately, we already know the predisposing factors for sinus disease, so we can at least influence them.

This procedure significantly reduces the accumulation of excessive amounts of secretions and promotes regular sinus emptying, thus minimizing the risk of pathological sinuses.


To properly care for the proper functioning of the perianal sinuses and their natural, spontaneous emptying, you should provide your pooch with a diet containing the right amount fiber.

Failure to do so may result in mucus build-up and need to be manually emptied by the owner or veterinarian.

Addition unsaturated fatty acids to diet (mainly omega 3 fatty acids), due to their anti-inflammatory effect, can basically reduce the severity of inflammation of the skin and anal glands.

Sometimes great results are achieved after change to a hypoallergenic diet - this is especially true in situations where a food allergy is at the root of the problem.

Diagnosis and treatment of diarrhea

As you know, all conditions involving the excretion of soft or diluted faeces are conducive to sinus emptying disorders.

Of course, they should be treated not only for this reason, because diarrhea itself adversely affects the entire body.

Therefore, any loosening situation requires prompt treatment.

Diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases

If your dog experiences frequent and recurring problems with the anal sinuses, take a close look at his skin.

Any states keratolojotokowe, with which the animal struggles may strongly predispose to sinus diseases.

It is then important to treat both dermatoses and sinusitis at the same time.

Identifying and treating allergies

Hypersensitivity and allergies are the main causes of the hypersecretory glands lining the walls of the perianal sinuses.

It is very often noticed with food allergies and until we deal with it, the dog will have problems with the sinuses no matter how often we empty them.

Monitoring and observation

It would be most optimal if you could catch the moment of just filling the sinuses, so that it would be early enough to be able to react without the need for serious treatment or uncomfortable procedures.

Since in physiological conditions the amount of discharge from the anal glands is really small, you may unfortunately not notice whether your dog is coping well with this issue or not.

Sometimes the first sign that your sinuses are not emptying properly is a rather unpleasant odor such as. from the dog's lair.

However, do not panic right away - dogs sometimes "let go" of the glands and if it happens sporadically, and the pet is happy and does not show other, disturbing symptoms, such as sledding, frequent licking of the anus or obvious signs of inflammation - then no cause for concern.

However, if you can smell this peculiar smell all the time from your dog, he becomes restless, sledding and is interested in the tail area, then it can actually be a big problem.

In optimal conditions, the smell should be imperceptible, because even after emptying, the pooch quickly cleanses its excess.

So watch if he is starting to toboggan or take too much interest in the anal area.

If so, let it encourage you to visit your veterinarian earlier than expected.

Prevention of obesity

Being overweight always has negative consequences for the whole organism.

In this particular case it may be that too much adipose tissue can accumulate as so-called organ fat around the sinuses, making them sink into that cushion tissue.

In this way, the "mechanical" effect of the stool on the perianal sinuses may be limited, preventing their emptying.

Cleaning the dog's anal glands [step by step

Cleaning the dog's anal glands

It happens that the keepers themselves empty the anal glands of their dogs.

This is, of course, acceptable and nothing prevents you from participating in every aspect of your pet's life, even the less pleasant ones.

Before you make this difficult decision, however, realize what you are really doing.

Yes, you will say that you have witnessed more than once when your pooch "let go" of his glands and you know perfectly well how it smells☺

No, you don't know.

There is a colossal difference between evacuating secretions naturally and squeezing them manually.

The difference is in the strength of the fragrance.

After all, "artificially" emptying the glands, there will always be more secretions, and in addition, the distance from the place of the highest intensity of smells is incomparably smaller.

You come face to face with - let's not be afraid to call it by its name - a terrible, often pinching and knocking-out stench, and all your defense mechanisms (even the simplest nasal congestion) are unavailable, because both hands are currently occupied.

Are you sure you are ready for it?

I'm not trying to dissuade you from this idea; I just want to be open about it - Emptying a dog's anal glands is absolutely not recommended for odor-sensitive keepers.

If you take up the challenge, read how you can do it

There are two ways to proceed.

If your dog has never had glands pressed and has not shown or does not show any disturbing symptoms related to them, you can safely opt out of gland cleansing.

Your pet is doing great on its own, and the fact that you have never seen him take an excessive interest in their surroundings only proves that the sinuses are healthy and do not require our support.

Nature is doing on its own.

If, on the other hand, it is necessary to regularly empty your dog's sinuses, there is no reason why you shouldn't do it yourself, as long as it is not painful to do so and the sinuses are not diseased.

Otherwise, it is better to let your vet do it.

In case you really want to learn how to empty your dog's sinuses (think carefully, it is not a pleasant activity), in the first place ask the doctor who is looking after your pet for tips on how to do it correctly.

Prepare the following aids:

  • paper towels - a large amount,
  • latex gloves,
  • protection for clothes (can be an apron or foil; anything that will protect you from "volley " from the anal glands).

Cleaning the dog's anal glands

  1. Fold a few paper towels so that they form a kind of absorbent pillow.
  2. Raise the dog's tail and put paper towels near the anus so that when squeezing the glands they are in the direct "line of fire ". It may seem ridiculous, but even doctors (including me :)), it happens that during this activity, discharge - with some amazing accuracy - lands right on their face, unfortunately not avoiding even the eye area. So be careful and be on the safe side really well. Believe me - despite all the love for your pet, this clash may temporarily strain your feelings ?
  3. Relating your dog's anus to the clock face, place your thumb and forefinger at approximately 4 o'clock. and 8.
  4. Gently squeeze the dog's anus in this area with your fingers - you should feel that the pressure area is getting smaller.
  5. With the other hand, keep the towels right under the dog's tail all the time - this allows the secretion to soak directly into the cover.
  6. After finishing the procedure, throw away the towels, wipe the pooch's bottom, and then wash your hands thoroughly.

With such external compression of the glandular sacs, they are squeezed together in one moment.

There is also a second way, which is inserting a finger into the anus and pressing out each sinus separately.

Personally, I prefer this method, because while emptying the sinuses, I also feel the area around them, assess the consistency and check if everything is okay.

However, for some reasons, I recommend that you rather master the method external expression of the perianal sinuses.

If the bench press is unproductive, because you are not able to evacuate the secretions despite all your good intentions, or - worse - the dog is really nervous and shows pain - refrain from emptying the glands.

There is a risk that they have become clogged or are already inflamed, so any manipulation in their vicinity not only causes suffering to the animal, but also may damage its delicate structures.

In this case, you should take your dog to the vet as more than just emptying the glands may be required.

It is good practice checking the perianal sinuses on average every 6 months provided that your pet's behavior does not indicate that they are sick.

Otherwise, they should be monitored more frequently (depending on the severity of clinical symptoms).

There is no golden rule about how often you should squeeze your perianal sinuses as this is a very individual trait.

In short, you should empty your sinuses manually depending on the need.

Generally this happens during defecation, so if it goes smoothly, there should be no major problems.

However, sometimes you need to help your pet in these matters.

Based on the rectal examination, the presence of predisposing factors and the nature of the discharge, the veterinarian will adjust the frequency of sinus monitoring.

It should be remembered that too frequent squeezing the sinuses (sometimes unnecessarily) leads to a kind of "hyperactivity " of the glands, and may also lead to a slight degree of inflammation, so you should not overdo them emptying them too much.


Anal sinus disease is common in dogs

Summarizing this article, I would like to draw your attention to a very important aspect:

Anal sinus disease is relatively common in dogs and it is a really painful problem for them.

The animal cannot tell what hurts it, so it acts in such a way as to relieve itself.

Your role - as a caring and perceptive guardian - cannot be overestimated here.

The most important thing that you can do for your dog is to observe, limit the predisposing factors mentioned in the article and react in the event of a problem.

Below I present briefly the most important points of this study:

The dog has perianal sinuses, which relatively often "clog up" or even get sick.

The smell of secretions is not pleasant, but neither is anyone forcing you to smell it. If you feel it, there is probably some sinus inflammation going on.

The sinuses should be regularly checked by a veterinarian and emptied if necessary.

The most common clogging of the wires leading out of these bags occurs, and the conditions that lead to this are:

  • Dysfunction,
  • Inflammation,
  • Abscess,
  • Tumor.

Sinus congestion can quickly lead to sinus rupture.

There are no apparent causes of sinus disease, but there are some predisposing factors.

It's worth working on them.

Drug treatment of sinus disease is not complicated, but it can be very long and even ineffective. Sometimes surgery is necessary.

The sinuses should be squeezed as needed.

Sources used >>

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