Anal Gland Problems in Dogs (and Cats)

Few topics raise dog owners’ eyebrows (and lower dogs’ tails) faster than the subject of anal glands. These two small structures are renowned for the foul-smelling material they produce, but what is their purpose and what should pet parents do when something goes wrong with them?


What Are Anal Glands?

Anal glands, or anal sacs as they are sometimes called, are small paired pouches located between the internal and external anal sphincter muscles, one on each side of the anus at roughly the 4 and 8 o’clock position. They empty through short and narrow ducts just inside the anus. Each sac is lined with abundant, modified sebaceous (oil) and apocrine (sweat) glands. The secreted substance is normally an oily, brownish fluid that packs a strong odor.

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