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What is Anal Sac Disease?

The anal sacs are located on either side of the anus at the four o’clock and eight o’clock positions. These small pouches store an oily, foul-smelling fluid that is secreted during defecation, but can also be released to mark territorial boundaries and ward off predators. The anal sacs--more appropriately the anal glands--are sometimes impacted or infected by bacteria. The condition affecting the feline’s anal glands can soon worsen and result in an anal sac abscess or rupture, which requires prompt veterinary attention. 

Anal Sac Disease Average Cost

From 289 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Anal Sac Disease in Cats

The symptoms associated with anal sac disease in cats depends on the severity and nature of the problem. In any case, anal sac disease is a painful condition and will make even the gentlest feline display aggression. The first sign a cat owner will notice is scooting, rubbing, licking or biting of the rear portion of the body. As the condition worsens, additional clinical signs can include: 

  • Scooting of the rump along the ground
  • Rubbing or licking the anal area
  • Localized pain 
  • Irritation 
  • Inflammation 
  • Swelling 
  • Redness of the anal tissues 
  • Bloody discharge from around the anus 
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Causes of Anal Sac Disease in Cats

Anal sac disease in cats can be caused by bacterial infection or gland impaction.

Bacteria can infect the anal sacs due to the close proximity of the glands to the anus. Feces naturally contains healthy bacteria from inside the colon, which can travel into the ducts during a bowel movement. The anal sacs do not contain healthy bacteria and soon become infected. 

The original purpose of the anal sacs was to allow the feline to mark his/her territory and ward off predators. However, due to the domestication of our felines today, most do not find a need to mark territory and go unthreatened by predators. Therefore, underuse of the glands can lead to an over accumulation of the oily fluids, which impacts the gland. Obese felines are at a high risk for developing anal sac impaction. 

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Diagnosis of Anal Sac Disease in Cats

The clinical signs of anal sac disease commonly point the veterinarian in the direction of an anal sac complication. However, intestinal parasites such as the tapeworm, can also cause a few similar symptoms to anal sac disease (scooting and biting or licking of the anal area) and will be ruled out as part of the differential diagnosis. The veterinarian may request a fecal floatation test to rule out parasites, but most anal sac disease cases are pinpointed on physical examination.

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Treatment of Anal Sac Disease in Cats

The treatment of anal sac disease in cats depends on whether the problem is caused by impactions or infections, and if the condition has progressed to an abscess or rupture. In all cases, the feline will be prescribed pain management medication for several days not only to alleviate pain, but inflammation and swelling as well. 

Anal Sac Impaction

Disease caused by anal sac impaction will need to be manually expressed by a veterinary professional. Anal sac expression may require an anesthetic and is carried out by gently squeezing each sac. The veterinarian, technician, or assistant may complete anal expression as they are trained professional. Anal expression should never be completed at home or by a groomer, trainer, or other unlicensed professional, as anal sac rupture may occur. 

Anal Sac Infection

Disease of the anal sacs caused by infection will require expression and antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria. The veterinarian may choose the flush out the infected sacs depending on the specific case at hand. 

Anal Sac Abscess 

Disease of the anal sacs that has progressed to an abscess will require lancing and flushing the affected area. This procedure will likely require sedation and will be carried out by the veterinarian. 

Anal Sac Rupture

Disease of the anal sacs that has cause the glands to rupture requires surgical treatment. The glands may be repaired or removed depending on the specific case at hand. 

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Recovery of Anal Sac Disease in Cats

Anal sac disease in cats that was caused by impaction or infection and did not progress has a very positive outlook. The condition may reoccur, which is why it is important to revisit your veterinarian and discuss prevention methods of anal sac disease in your cat.  

Felines that have undergone anal sac surgery may experience a lack of bowel control following surgery. The nerves used to control the muscles surrounding the anal sphincter are manipulated during the surgical process, causing inappropriate defecation while walking, sleeping or laying down. In most cases, this behavior of inappropriate defecation will improve with healing and is only a temporary problem. However, severe rupture cases or abscess that have been left untreated may leave the feline unable to control bowel movements for life.

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Anal Sac Disease Average Cost

From 289 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800

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Anal Sac Disease Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Tuxedo cat

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6 weeks

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

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Had Hard Time To Poop ,

What does my kitten have , his anus stinks and poop get stuck inside of it , today I saw white discharge coming out .

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It is likely that he has intestinal parasites that are probably causing problems. Kittens don't tend to need carrots, and it may help also to feed him a kitten food. Having him seen by a veterinarian to check a stool sample would be a good idea. I hope that all goes well for him.

Aug. 5, 2020

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Aidi

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Twelve Weeks

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

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Tarry Stool

Hello, I recently rescued a stray kitten from my neighborhood. He did get all of his shots. However, he has had a anal rupture. He has already had 2 surgeries this week where the vet stitched it back together. He has a cone and pain medication. I went to go check on him earlier today and his butt is out again. What would be the next option ? I cannot afford a colon surgery😕.

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I'm not sure what exactly you mean by anal rupture, unfortunately, without seeing him. If he is having a prolapse, he may need to have the suture in place for a longer period of time. Without knowing more about what you're describing, it is difficult to say what the next step might be. It would probably be a good idea to call your veterinarian, let them know what is going on, and see what they would recommend as they have seen him and know more about his situation. I hope that everything goes okay for him and he feels better soon.

Aug. 2, 2020

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Black and White cat

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Seven Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

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Swollen Anus Drainage

I've taken my cat to to veterinarians they both want to do biopsies or surgery I can't afford that and I'm not able to take care of my cat after a surgery especially in that area are there any other treatments because I really want to save my cat

July 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, without seeing your cat or knowing more about the situation, it isn't possible for me to offer any other treatment options. It would be best to talk to one or both of the veterinarians who have seen your cat, let them know that surgery is not an option, and see what other treatment might be available. I hope that all goes well for your cat.

July 29, 2020

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rag doll

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Eleven Years

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Unknown severity

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Redness

I took my rag doll cat to the vet because he was excessively licking his bottom and there was blood. The vet said his anal gland ruptured and now there is a big hole. He gave him an antibiotic shot. He prescribed ointment. He told me to do a warm compress 3-4 times a day. All seems valid. He told my fiancé to clean area 3-4 times a day with hydrogen peroxide, I am a nurse and i would think this would be the worst thing to do? Hydrogen peroxide kills all the good cells. Thoughts?

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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Hello, I agree with you. I do not reccomend cleaning with hydrogen peroxide as it does kill the good cells. Continue doing the warm compresses and apply the ointment. After a few days, this will heal and your cat will be just fine.

July 24, 2020

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Kiki

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Russian Blue

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10 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Wound

We noticed the other day that our cat was licking himself a lot. Last night we noticed that he now has an open sore, nickel sized, near the bottom left of his anus. He is acting completely normal. Cuddling, playing, letting us brush him and sleeping next to us. We are wondering if we should take him to the vet or not. He is very afraid and skiddish, last time we took him to the vet he expressed his anal glands and was hissing. He never acts like they so we are worried he may hurt himself more under stress. Will this heal on its own or should we take him in?

Sept. 11, 2018

Kiki's Owner

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Sigmund

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Domestic longhair

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4 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Diarrhea
Pus-Like Fluid Secretion

I adopted a long haired black cat from someone through Facebook (I know not the best idea, but the cats owner had gone to rehab and his roommates were going to get rid of him). Before we adopted him he apparently had been eating a mix of dog and cat food and was also outdoors a lot. He became completely indoors when we got him (we have 3 other cats and didn’t want to try to manage him going out but them not) and a couple months in I started noticing like a bloody diarrhea looking substance hanging / dripping down from his anus and stuck in his hair. I have taken him to the vet like 4 times for the same issue with no avail. We finally ended up putting peroxide on it and then antibacterial ointment, he really did not enjoy that and one time a fluid that looked like pus literally shot out of his anus. And then it stopped. For months, like 6 or so. The other day I was holding him (granted he wasn’t very happy that was holding him) and I noticed the pus-like substance was coming out and all over his anus. I can’t ever see a specific location it’s coming from and he acts normally, he plays with the other cats, he eats and drinks normally, he seems to have normal bowel movements too - he used to have diarrhea but it doesn’t seem like that anymore. We have tried de-worming them and the vets have done fecal tests that come up with nothing. I’m a broke college student and I can’t afford to keep taking him to the vet with no solution. We think he was probably abused / neglected by his previous owner and he will flinch when you touch him sometimes, especially his stomach.

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Kenny

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Persian

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4 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Excessive Licking

So I have a 4 year old persian cat and a few months ago I noticed he was having trouble going to bathroom and I had to clean his bum a few times because it was only half way out and then he got out and tried to clean himself. I got a vet tech friend to come over and check and see if he had anal glad problems ( I also work in animal world so I’m familiar with some signs of discomfort although he was showing stuff most common for dogs ) my friend expresses his glands and he seemed to be back to normal. A month later he started to worry me again as he didn’t poop for a whole week when I was on days off from work! I work at an SPCA and I don’t make lots of money so I try and do my best to help my animals before taking to a vet so this time I asked my vet friend again to express his glands and she said the one side was very big and she managed to express it, it’s been maybe half a month now and I’ve been giving him glandex anal gland powder to see if that helps make him more regular and it seemed to be helping but tonight I noticed ( I may have given him to much not sure ) he has been vomiting and his stools are loose and he’s still licking his bum and now he’s just trying to sleep he looks drained from all this and since it’s only been half a month should I maybe see a vet to make sure nothing else is going on or maybe wait it out ? See if he gets better I don’t want to put the powder on his food tomorrow to see if maybe that’s all it was but I’m always worried I’m going to miss something and I don’t want anything bad to happen to him but am also low budget house at the moment ! Any help would be wonderful to try if anyone has suggestions! Thank you

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Cookie

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European Shorthair

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4 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Wound

about 2 days ago, i realized that my cat Cookie has a bloody hole at the top left of her butthole. She has not shown any bad symptoms yet, is it advisable to bring her to the vet,or what should i do? Is there a certain cream i can put on the affected area?

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Simba

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Siamese mix

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Odor
Discharge
Overweight

Hi, my cat is discharging a smelly liquid when she sits down. I think the problem is that her tummy is quite big so she can't clean herself.(it's always been like that since she was a kitten, but she's also put on some weight being an indoor cat). I'm not sure she even has an anal gland problem to be honest, her bottom is always a bit dirty and the vet always comments on how much gas she has. The problem is that the discharge is nightly now, she sleeps in my bed and every night there's Mark's on my bed linen and often an odor. I'm focusing on getting her weight down and have switched to a low fiber diet.

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Sam

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Domestic long hair

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16 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Discharge
Anal Sac Rupture

I just discovered an anal sac rupture on my 16 year old cat... he didn't show any signs of discomfort and I didn't notice any swelling around his anus, so I was not able to notice this until one already ruptured. I'm planning to take him to the vet, but what can I do in the mean time, to help. I've cleaned the area as much as I could without making him too uncomfortable. Is there anything more I can do until he see the vet?

Anal Sac Disease Average Cost

From 289 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800