Anal Gland Impaction
Anal sacs for beginners
Whilst we none of us like to think of our sweet little canine friends as having anything so indelicate as anal sacs, sad to relate, they do. They have them, they need them and, like it or not, they sometimes don’t function quite the way they should. If they did, we wouldn’t be needing to have this conversation now would we?
For anyone with a delicate stomach, you might wish to look away now!
Anal sacs – the low-down
Anal sacs, sometimes referred to as anal glands, sit at your dog’s rear end either side of the anus. When your dog defecates, a small amount of the fluid contained within these sacs comes out too. This strong-smelling, oily fluid lubricates the stool as it leaves your dog’s body making the defecation process easier and gentler for your dog. And, from a dog’s point of view anyway, has the added benefit of marking his or her territory. (Yes, something both male and female dogs do).
This entire, somewhat unsavoury process, normally happens automatically. A good quality, fibre-rich diet produces a stool solid enough to squeeze the anal sacs as your dog goes to the toilet. Out comes the fluid, out comes the stool, everyone’s a winner!
But when this doesn’t happen, oh dear. The fluid in the anal sacs solidifies and the result is something known as Anal Sac Disease, also known as Anal Gland Impaction. It’s an uncomfortable, painful condition which is likely to involve your vet expressing your dog’s anal sacs manually, which is embarrassing for all, painful for your dog and expensive for you. Especially if infection sets in and surgery becomes necessary!
Anal sac impaction – the signs
You’ll soon know if your best friend has an anal sac problem. If you notice he or she licking or biting their rear end more frequently than usual or starting to scoot around on his or her bottom, chances are you’re witnessing an anal sac problem. This will be further evidenced by a particularly foul odour because of the build up of fluid.
Anal sac impaction – prevention is better than cure
You won’t be surprised to hear that the solution to this unmentionable issue can be found in your dog’s diet. A high quality, fibre-rich, homemade diet should produce stools of sufficient size and appropriate firmness to enable your dog’s anal sacs to perform the function for which they were designed.
So, the occasional leafy greens, cabbage or broccoli, for example. Or add a spoonful or two of rolled oats or bran to your dog’s food a couple of times a week. Or do the same with cooked and mashed pumpkin – about a teaspoon for every 5 kilos of bodyweight.
And if you want a really, really healthy solution that will also provide your dog with added goodness, add a tablespoon of psyllium husk to one of our sachets of Chicken Bone Broth. The psyllium husk, used for centuries in natural medicine and a constituent of modern day human laxative formulas, will stimulate the muscles of the walls of the intestines and help cleanse your dog’s colon as it pushes the waste matter through its system.
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Unlike we human beings, dogs have no concept of old age. To a dog, the saying “it is what it is” very much applies, and it’s one of the reasons we love them . . .