Dogs have a pair of small glands located just inside their anus. These glands are called anal sacs or anal glands; they secrete a brownish smelly fluid which has the consistency of oil or water.
The glands don’t really serve a purpose in pet dogs or cats, however in the past, the scent from the secretion was used to mark territory, as well as used as a form of communication. As feces pass through the glands, pressure is exerted on the glands causing the release and deposition of a small amount of strong-smelling secretion on the stool, thus giving dog or cat waste a distinct odor.
Sometimes, the anal glands can become impacted, creating a perfect environment for the proliferation of bacteria, resulting in infection.
You will know if your pet is suffering from anal gland problems when he displays the following signs:
- Dragging his behind across the ground or floor
- Excessive licking of his anal area; the hair along this area may change in color as a result of licking stains.
- A dog may attempt to chase his tail in an effort to reach his anal area.
- Cats suffering from anal sac problems may experience loss of hair under their tail because they tend to bite or lick off tufts of hair as they try to reach the area.
- Patting their back can cause the affected cat or dog to cry out in pain. This may also be observed when your pet defecates.
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