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What are Anal Glands and WHY do Dogs Have Them?

Scooting or licking the rear. Foul odor. Discharge on the carpet or bed. What do all of these things have in common? These are all common signs of anal sac disease.

Scooting or licking the rear. Foul odor. Discharge on the carpet or bed. What do all of these things have in common? These are all common signs of anal sac disease. Dogs (and cats) have scent glands just inside their anus. The purpose of these glands is to add a unique scent to the animal's feces during a bowel movement for aid in marking off its territory. Material in the glands is normally watery but if the material it too thick, the glands can become impacted and cause irritation resulting in signs of licking and scooting the rear on the ground. Another reason the glands may not empty properly is if the duct leading from the gland is narrow or if the position of the gland is deep. Alternatively, infection can cause irritation of the glands and leaking of contents. If any of the signs are seen in your pet, an appointment with your veterinarian can aid in diagnosing and resolving this all to common problem.

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