Anal Gland Q&A

1. What are the anal glands? They are two small secretory gland setting at the four and eight o’clock position around the anus.

2. What are their purpose? They are suppose to secrete a small amount material every time your dog eliminates to mark territory.

3. Why are they such a problem? The problem is generally in smaller breeds of dogs due to damage and premature deterioration of the muscle around the gland that is required to express them.

4. I have them expressed regularly. Is this adequately managing the problem? While it true properly expressing the gland will give temporary relief, the problem will return. The treatment of expressing these glands is painful in itself. Any patient having two or more episodes per year is candidate for surgery.

5. I heard regular expression of glands was necessary in small breed dogs? No. If the gland is functioning, expression is not required. The routine expression of the gland even correctly will further damage the gland contributing to the problem.

6. How complex is the surgery? The surgery is a one day procedure with patient going home that night.

7. What can I expect after surgery ? The surgical area is sore for about 5-7 days. We will prescribe pain medications to provide comfort during the healing phase. We also recommend Miralax the first week after surgery to prevent discomfort in elimination and prevent constipation.

8. Is there any post surgery care required? Patients must wear a protective cone to prevent chewing at the incision sites during healing. This an area where there is high risk of the patient chewing out stitches if a protective cone is not worn.

9. What are the complications of surgery? Less than 5% of the surgical patients will have temporary fecal incontinence up to two weeks (dropping stool unaware as they walk across floor.)

“My personal experience from caretakers over the year after performing the surgery is they regret not having the surgery sooner.” – Donald Loden, DVM