Anal Sac Disease Average Cost

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Average Cost


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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. 

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 

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

Anal Sac Disease Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Not sure
11 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Grooming around tail area
Redness around anus
Bloody discharge

I’ve been to my vet maybe 3 times. Each time my cat has had something wrong with her anal sacs, usually an infection. The vet prescribes an antibiotic and we give it to my cat for a week and a half, however, the bloody, yellowish liquid still comes out of her anus. It’s been going on for about 3-4 weeks now and she’s had the infection 2 times before. She is too old for surgery. What exactly is happening and what are my options?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2973 Recommendations
At eleven years old, she isn’t too old for surgery but any surgery would be considered seriously with pre anaesthetic blood tests to check liver and kidney function; the treatment options are patient dependant and you should discuss alternative options with your Veterinarian. It is possible that the antibiotics are not effective against the infection and another one is needed; culture and sensitivity would be useful here. If you feel that there is no progress with therapy, a second opinion with another Veterinarian may be useful. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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5 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Excessive butt licking

He started licking his butt excessively about 24 hours ago. He also started squatti g like he was peeing in laundry basket, on floor but not peeing. He won’t lay by me like he usually does and has been hiding behind the couch. Could this be his anal glands or something else?
Thank you,

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2973 Recommendations
It sounds like this may be more urinary than gastrointestinal, if Sebastian is having difficulty urinating the irritation may cause him to lick around his back end; I cannot say for certain without examining him but would recommend visiting your Veterinarian if he isn’t passing any urine. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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12 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

licking at anal area

Dear vet,

3 days ago, I realised that there is white pus coming out from the left side of my cat's anal sac, in addition to a foul smelling odor. I have applied antiseptic cream onto the infected area, twice a day. Although the foul smell have subsided, there is still pus around the left side of the anal sac and the meat around it looks tender.

Is it advisable to bring her to the vet?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2973 Recommendations
You should take Chocolate into your Veterinarian as it is likely more effective treatment will be needed to treat this which may include medical management but in severe cases surgery may indicated; however your Veterinarian will go over all of this with you during the consult and examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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6 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Anal Leakage

When I got home today my cat had stool stuck to his fur, when I tried removing it from the anus area, she was obviously painful. I took a look, and noticed two white dots where the anal sacs are. I then noticed his stomach seemed tight, and he has not had many normal BM, and am worried about constipation as well as anal gland infection.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1397 Recommendations
Cats can become constipated, and can have anal gland problems, for sure. Since Nial seems to be having problems with his bowel movements and anal area, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible to have him examined and see what might be causing these problems for him.

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