What Leads To The Anal Gland Removal? Complete Insights

As a responsible pet owner, you undoubtedly take steps to ensure that your pet, either its cat or dog, is cared for. For this purpose, you might make every possible effort to immediately respond to the unusual changes in your dog’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, it has been observed that people might not pay much 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 surgeries such as removing them. Want to know more details about dogs' symptoms, causes, treatments, and potential complications associated with anal gland removal? Then stay connected with us till the end of the article! 


Before diving into further discussion, it would be great to get detailed insights into the overall structure of the anal glands in dogs. Dogs 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 that arises: why do dogs go through surgeries to remove anal glands? There could be multiple reasons for this. 

For instance, obesity, abnormal anal sac secretion, or nerve dysfunctioning in the anal sacs may result in anal sac diseases. In addition to this, the most common reasons behind anal sacs diseases are 1) impaction, 2) abscessation (infection), 3) sacculitis (inflammation). Small breed dogs such as Poodles and Chihuahuas are at high risk of Anal sacculitis and abscesses. Anal sac cancer is another major reason behind the removal of the glands. It's worth mentioning here that the tumors in the anal sac are uncommon in dogs, but in case of their presence, they are usually malignant, also known as cancerous tumors. 

Clinical Symptoms:

Here are the most common symptoms of anal sac diseases:

  • Scooting, biting & licking at the anal area and tail base. 
  • Discomfort while sitting.
  • Painful and abnormal defecating (constipation, straining, or diarrhea). 

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.

Surgical procedure 

What’s the treatment of anal sac diseases? It's one of the most frequently asked questions, and here we will discuss it in detail. The surgical procedure in which surgeons remove both anal glands is called anal sacculectomy. However, before choosing surgery, veterinarians try to treat the 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 sacculectomy is performed. The most common steps involved in this surgery are; 

  • Before administering this surgical procedure, the experts perform a complete blood chemistry test. It is important to make sure that the pet is healthy enough to undergo a surgical procedure. 
  • The veterinary team prescribes a complete pain control management plan to control the pain during and after 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 positioning of the dog as per the surgical needs. Then the animal’s body is draped to prevent contamination of the surgical site. 
  • 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 external and internal anal sphincters. It's worth noting that the 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. 
  • If the dog is suffering from a chronic anal gland infection, surgeons prefer to place a drain. 
  • Then the anal sac is submitted if there is a concern for cancer. 

Post-operative Care

Just like humans, post-surgery care is essential for pets too. So after the anal gland removal, it's important to give the pain medications and antibiotics to the dogs as per the professionals' prescription. Moreover, an e-collar is crucial to prevent the trauma, i.e., licking or biting at the incision or surgical site. The e-collar is placed for the first 7-14 days after surgery, according to veterinary experts. In addition, strenuous activity such as running, jumping, or playing is also prevented for at least three weeks after surgery.