What Leads To The Anal Gland Removal? Complete Insights

Anal Gland Removal (Unilateral or Bilateral)

As a responsible pet owner, you ensure that your pet, whether it's a cat or dog, is cared for. For this purpose, you should immediately respond to unusual changes in your pet's behavior or physical health. Pet owners get their pups or kitten to the veterinarian in a medical emergency, i.e., sudden injury or illness. But unfortunately, people might need to pay more attention to the several chronic diseases that develop and spread gradually. And may lead to death. 

For example, anal sac conditions have become one of the most common diseases in dogs. Failure to start timely treatment may lead to aggressive dog anus gland removal. Want more details about symptoms, causes, treatments, and potential complications associated with anal gland removal surgery? Then stay connected with us till the end of the article! 

Anatomy of Pet Anal Glands 

Before diving into further discussion, it would be great to get detailed insights into the overall structure of the pet anal glands. Animals have two anal sacs or glands. Both are located beneath the skin. On the other hand, the anal sac duct opens into the edge of the anus. Both glands are linked with the anal sphincter muscle.

 So, here's a question: why do pets undergo anal gland removal surgery? There could be multiple reasons for this. 

Causes of Anal Gland Problems

It's no secret that our four-legged companions have their fair share of peculiarities. One such peculiarity is the anal glands. Situated on either side of their, well, posterior, these tiny, pea-sized sacs can sometimes run into a spot of bother. But what exactly leads to these complications? Let's have a look:

  1. Poor Diet: Just like us humans, our pets' diets play a crucial role in their health. A poor diet can lead to soft stools, which may not adequately express the pet anal glands.
  2. Obesity: A tad surprising, isn't it? But, alas, it's true. Our chunkier companions may have a more challenging time 'doing the business,' leading to incomplete gland expression.
  3. Chronic Infections or Allergies: Recurrent infections or allergies can cause inflammation, making it difficult for the glands to empty correctly.
  4. Anal Sac Cancer: Another primary reason behind the removal of the glands. It's worth mentioning here that tumors in the anal sac are uncommon in dogs, but in case of their presence, they are usually malignant, also known as cancerous tumors.

In addition to this, the most common reasons behind anal sacs diseases are

  • Impaction,
  • Abscessation (anal gland infection),
  • Sacculitis (inflammation).

Small breed dogs such as Poodles and Chihuahuas are at high risk of Anal vasculitis and abscesses.

Symptoms of Anal Gland Problems

How do we tell when our furry pals are having a rough time with their anal glands? They can't exactly spell it out for us. But, bless their hearts, they have their ways of showing it:

  • Scooting: If you catch your pet dragging behind on the carpet, they aren't just trying to dance. This is a tell-tale sign of anal gland issues.
  • Constant Licking or Chewing: Keep an eye out for this one. If you see your pet constantly licking or chewing near their tail, it's time to pay attention.
  • Changes in Bowel Movements: Changes in the consistency, color, or frequency of your pet's stool could indicate a problem.

At the end of the day, nobody knows your pet quite like you do. Whenever you notice any one of these symptoms in your pets, make sure to visit veterinarians. Because sometimes there could be more serious diseases, such as cancer, or a perianal fistula, may be present. It's pertinent to mention that a perianal fistula is an abnormal connection between the anus and its skin.

Anal Sacculectomy

'Anal sacculectomy' is the surgical removal of the pet anal glands. It's usually considered a last resort after trying other less invasive treatments. It's performed under general anesthesia, and while it does come with an Anal gland removal recovery period, it can offer a long-term solution to recurrent anal gland issues.

This surgery can be performed unilaterally (on one side) or bilaterally (on both sides). Whether to perform unilateral or bilateral anal gland removal surgery is made on a case-by-case basis, depending on the severity of the infection or impaction and the dog's overall health.

However, before choosing anal gland surgery, veterinarians try to treat anal gland infection and inflammation with the appropriate medications. Because it's also a fact that if the anal sac infected with excessive inflammation is removed, the chances of several post-surgical complications increase. However, in case of cancer tumors or other complications, anal gland removal surgery is performed.

Anal Gland Removal Surgery Procedure 

The most common steps involved in anal gland removal surgery are; 

  • Before administering this surgical procedure, the experts perform a complete blood chemistry test. Ensuring the pet is healthy enough to undergo a surgical procedure is important. 
  • The veterinary team prescribes a complete pain management plan to control the pain during and after anal gland surgery. Which generally includes anesthesia combined with anti-inflammatory drugs, oral analgesics, epidural analgesia, and injectable analgesics. That ensures maximum comfort for the dog. 
  • After giving anesthesia to the pets, veterinarians shave the surrounding area of the anal gland and scrub it with an antiseptic scrub solution. Then the surgical preparation is completed with the appropriate dog positioning as per the surgical needs. Then the animal's body is draped to prevent surgical site contamination. 
  • At the beginning of the anal sacculectomy, the surgeon makes an incision near the anus directly over the affected anal gland. Then they dissect the gland from the external and internal anal sphincters. It's worth noting that surgeons should make every possible effort to ensure extreme care while removing the anal gland because disruption of the anal sphincter could lead to permanent fecal incontinence. 
  • Before closing the surgical site or placing a drain, professionals flush out the opening with an antiseptic solution before closing the surgical site completely or before placing a drain. 
  • Surgeons prefer to place a drain if the dog suffers from a chronic anal gland infection. 
  • Then, the anal sac is submitted if there is a concern for cancer. 

Post-Operative Care

Just like humans, post anal gland surgery care is essential for pets too.

  • Medications and Antibiotics: After the anal gland removal, it's important to give pain medications and antibiotics to the dogs as per the professionals' prescription.
  • E-collar: Moreover, an e-collar is crucial to prevent trauma, i.e., licking or biting at the incision or surgical site. According to veterinary experts, the e-collar is placed for the first 7-14 days after surgery.
  • Strenuous Activities: In addition, strenuous activity such as running, jumping, or playing is also prevented for at least three weeks after dog anus gland removal. 

Dog Gland Removal Pros and Cons 

Anal gland removal surgery sounds a tad intimidating, doesn't it? But it's not all doom and gloom. There are dog gland removal pros and cons, just like with any medical procedure. So, let's roll up our sleeves and get into it:


  • No More Recurring Issues: Once the glands are gone, there's no more worry about chronic infection or impaction. A sigh of relief, right?
  • Less Distress for Your Dog: Itching, discomfort, pain – these can all be a thing of the past.
  • Less Cleaning for You: No more messy business on the carpets!


  • Surgical Risk: Any surgery carries some risk, including anal gland infection or complications from anesthesia.
  • Post-Surgery Care: Anal gland removal recovery involves wound care, possible cone-wearing, and extra TLC.
  • Potential Incontinence: This is rare, but fecal incontinence's a slight risk after surgery.

Anal Gland Removal Cost

The anal gland removal cost can vary widely, depending on various factors:

  • Geographical Location: Vet prices fluctuate from state to state and country to country.
  • Veterinarian Expertise: More experienced vets may charge more.
  • Dog's Health: If your dog has other health issues, it might complicate the procedure and increase the cost.

You could be looking at an average of $500 to $1,500. Yikes! But remember, this one-time cost could solve a recurring problem.