Dog Anus Gland Abscess Rupture Treatment: In-depth Analysis

Dog Anus Gland Abscess Rupture Treatment

The health issues with dog anus gland abscess rupture treatment are often overlooked.

Pet parents often think that the scooting of their dogs is a phase, and until they realize the cause of it, it can become too serious.

Any symptoms connected with anal glands lead to discomfort in dogs, and at the end of the day, it is unpleasant for the owners as well.

We might even say that it is painful to watch it. Those who had similar issues with their dogs can confirm this.

Whether it’s abscessed or ruptured anal glands – it is very disturbing for both dogs and owners, and the treatment procedure can be complicated in some cases.

If you are curious, let’s dig deeper!

Key Takeaways:

  • Anal glands in dogs can be connected with many health problems.
  • Pet owners should be cautious if their dogs are scooting or having problems with their hind area.
  • The treatment of abscesses or ruptures of anal glands varies.
  • A high-fiber diet is the best way to prevent anal gland problems.

What Are Anal Glands?

To simplify things in the beginning, we will describe anal glands as two small pockets located on the left and right side of the dog’s anus. They are also known as anal sacs.

The sacs have sebaceous glands and produce a foul-smelling fluid. This leads to an odor. The odor is released through the duct in the anus, and it is a way of dog communication.

This fluid is released normally in healthy dogs, but some dogs cannot express their glands naturally.

There are a few theories or purposes for dog’s anal glands:

  • Territorial scent marker
  • Lubrication
  • Scent glands (identifies dog’s sex, health, and approximate age)
  • Bowel movement

Some consider that the smell released from the anal glands of dogs is a way of communication between dogs, while some think that the anal gland excretion is a lubricant for the hard stool.

The anal glands excrete when the dogs have bowel movements.

Causes of Infected Anal Glands

Anal gland issues can be very uncomfortable to watch and experience it together with your pet.

You and your veterinarian must determine the real cause of anal gland problems to develop a treatment plan.

These are the most common factors that contribute to anal gland problems in dogs:


Since the fluid from the anal glands is released as the stool passes by, the stool consistency is a huge factor. A good diet can lead to normal stool consistency.

So, those dogs that lack fiber in their diets have a softer stool, which leads to small pressure on the glands.

If the diet of the animals is not corrected on time, it can lead to anal gland abscesses and poor anal gland emptying.

A healthy and balanced diet can also lead to a healthy weight, and this can reduce the chances of anal gland issues.

Regular exercise also alleviates the pressure, and the dogs can enjoy healthy anal glands throughout their life.


Whether it is food or environmental, allergies can lead to poor emptying of anal glands.

Food allergies are not that common in dogs, but still, some dogs can experience them and suffer from allergies throughout their whole life.

What’s even worse is that allergies can lead to serious inflammations that affect the anal glands.

Breed Predisposition

Anal gland issues are commonly a small dog breed problem. But don’t get us wrong; bigger dog breeds can also have this problem.

The most common dog breeds that are affected with anal gland issues are the following:

  • Pomeranian
  • Bichon Frise
  • Dachshund
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • French Bulldog
  • Jack Russel Terrier
  • Pug

Other medium and big-sized dogs include Cocker Spaniels and Bulldogs.

But if you suspect that your dog is not on this list but has anal gland symptoms, seek help from a professional.


Dogs that have difficulties in emptying their anal glands have increased chances of infections. Poor immune system and full anal glands are perfect conditions for bacterial growth.

If left untreated, this can lead to a serious bacterial infection and even anal sacculitis, which is an inflammation of the anal sacs.

All these factors might lead to a ruptured anal gland if left untreated. Often veterinarians prefer medical anal gland rupture for the yellow, green, or bloody discharge to be released.

Symptoms of Anal Gland Abscess

There are a few symptoms that indicate that your pet is suffering with anal gland issues, including:

  • Hind end straining
  • Scooting
  • Rear end discomfort
  • Fishy smell (odor)
  • Gland fluid leaking
  • Bleeding
  • Hind area excessive licking

When the anal glands excrete during a normal bowel movement, there is no risk of anal sac abscess.

However, if the fluid does not empty and there is an infection, the anal sacs might fill with pus or blood.

Owners and veterinarians should distinguish blocked anal glands and anal gland abscesses. An anal gland abscess is a painful formation that cannot be excreted or handled easily.

The most common symptoms of a ruptured anal gland include anal gland secretion, pus, blood, or foul smell. But this doesn’t mean that the dog has relieved its pressure and that it is cured.

It needs to be treated adequately because ruptured anal glands are open wounds that are prone to anal gland infections from the environment.

If you notice any discoloration or swelling around your dog’s anal glands, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible because it is an indication of anal gland infection.

How Are Anal Gland Health Issues Diagnosed?

According to Merck Veterinary Manual, diagnosing anal glands includes the following:

  • Physical examination
  • Microscopy
  • Ultrasonography
  • Biopsy

In some mild cases, only physical examination is enough, however, suspicious cases need additional diagnosing procedures.

Impacted anal glands are confirmed by a digital rectal exam. Also, infections or anal gland abscesses are diagnosed in the same way.

During the microscopic evaluation of the anal gland material, many polymorphonuclear leukocytes and bacteria can be found.

During the diagnosis, anal gland cancer should not be confused with abscesses. Anal sac apocrine adenocarcinoma is the most common. Firm and non-expressible anal sacs can confuse doctors and dog owners.

However, the diagnosis is confirmed by a biopsy. If the biopsy indicates that there is a tumor present, it should be checked for regional and systemic metastasis.

How Do You Treat Abscessed or Ruptured Anal Glands in Dogs?

There are a few methods of treating abscessed or ruptured glands, including the following:

  • Manual expression
  • Flushing
  • Antibiotics (local or oral antibiotics)
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Pain relief medications
  • Surgery

Mild cases of impacted anal sacs should be gently and manually expressed.

If the anal gland material expresses slowly due to the dryness, there is a solution. Your veterinarian can infuse a softening or ceruminolytic agent into the sacs.

If the abscess ruptures, the anal area automatically becomes an open wound, and don’t think that if there is no more scooting, your pet is safe.

This open wound should be cleaned and treated with antiseptics. Local and systemic antibiotics are recommended.

 According to Annette Lundberg, atopic dermatitis is the most common comorbidity. She also suggests that the best treatment for anal gland infections is local treatment with flushing and infusion.

Warm compress can also help. These warm compresses are applied every 8-12 hours for 15-20 minutes. Weekly flushing of steroid-antibiotic ointment is needed in some severe cases.

The treatment should continue until the veterinarian suggests it. It should stop only if the abscess is healing properly and the swelling and discomfort are minimized.

Recurrent infections are common, and it’s no secret.

So, if something similar repeats, the veterinarian might recommend swabs for bacterial culture. With antibiogram results, the proper antibiotic treatment can be determined.

If none of this leads to improvements, doctors should perform a more invasive procedure which is surgical excision. However, this surgical procedure should be performed by a certified board surgeon in this field.

It is because a common complication of anal sac surgery is damage to the caudal rectal branch of the pudendal nerve.

It can be unilateral or bilateral damage. In bilateral nerve damage cases, the result is chronic fecal incontinence.

According to Catriona MacPhail, anal sac removal is the definitive surgery treatment for chronic conditions connected with anal glands.

Other complications, according to the same author, include fistula formation and incisional infection.

With proper treatment, your dog can heal in no time. Whether dogs have anal gland abscesses, anal glands rupture, or even tumors, proper medication and appropriate support from your local veterinarian are the key to a speedy recovery.

How to Prevent Anal Gland Problems?

There are many ways to prevent your dog from anal gland problems.

First and foremost, improve your dog’s diet. According to PDSA, high-fiber supplements and diet can help in reducing anal gland impaction.

It can also lead to normal stool, which will allow normal anal gland expression.

This condition can be extremely painful and can cause additional pressure on dogs. Overweight dogs might even feel additional pressure. So, providing them with proper nutrition and regular exercise is crucial.

Proper hydration can also help to moisturize the content of the stool, which can contribute to natural anal gland emptying.

When the problem with anal glands is related to the dog’s breed, remember that only regular anal gland expression is enough. But don’t over-express your dog’s anal sacs.

Over-expressing can lead to further problems like anal sphincter muscle atrophy and excessive licking. Most dogs react well only on this preventative measure.

Addressing skin conditions and allergies can also help in the efficient management of the anal sac disease. Usually, recurrent conditions are signs of allergies that need to be resolved appropriately.


Why does my dog have a leaking yellow fluid from his anus?

If you notice a yellow or bloody discharge from the anus, it is probably an infection, but this needs to be confirmed by a veterinarian.

Why does my dog have a hot, tender swelling around the anus?

Hot and tender swelling, in most cases, means that the dog has an abscess. It is probably due to a previous untreated anal gland infection.

How do I tell my dog’s anal glands are full?

This can be easily noticed because the most common symptoms include licking and biting the anal area, chasing the tail, uncomfortable sitting, and foul-smelling odor.

Are there any risks of an anal sac surgical removal?

In complicated cases, surgical removal is the only solution. Some common risks are incontinence, damage to the nerves, anal gland infections, and recurrence.

Final Words

Anal glands in dogs are connected with many health issues. And that is exactly why recognizing the anal gland problem is crucial for a successful treatment.

Have you noticed some changes with your dog’s anal glands? We are curious, so let us know in the comments below!

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