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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

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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

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Ask a Vet

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Jasper

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tabby

dog-age-icon

13 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Fur Loss
Anal Pain
Meowing Excessively

Hello, I found a stray cat yesterday (he approached me) He was obviously a house cat, so I took him in. He has been passing diarrhea, and seems to have pain by his anus (he meows out and tries to bite), he's meowing a lot, and i'm noticing patches of fur on the floor from him cleaning himself (not sure if he's ripping his fur out). I've checked his stool, and I am not seeing anything abnormal such as insects or blood, but I know a cat shouldn't have diarrhea (passed with loud farts) I'm not sure if he's been a stray for a significant amount of time, which would explain the diarrhea..but I'm extremely concerned and would like to help without having to deal with vet costs. Thank you

Aug. 2, 2018

Jasper's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Young cats are commonly affected by parasites, and Jasper may have been eating things that are causing his diarrhea. Since you just found him, a visit to a veterinarian would probably be a good idea, and should not be horribly expensive, to give him a good examination, scan him for a microchip to make sure that he isn't owned, check an fecal sample, and give him vaccines.

Aug. 2, 2018

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Feebid

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Ragdoll

dog-age-icon

18 Years

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Mild severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Bloody Mucus From Anal Sac.

I inherited an 18yo ragdoll cat from an elderly lady who passed few months ago. Two days ago the cat had a bloody mucus coming out from one of her anal sacs (which now stopped). What are the options for a cat of her age?

July 25, 2018

Feebid's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Firstly it is important to determine whether there is a mass or another issue in or around the anal gland, without examining Feebid I cannot determine the specific cause or determine a course of action; in a cat of 18 years options will be limited generally with surgery being off the table, but medical management may still be appropriate if available for the underlying cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2018

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Sebastian

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tabby

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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, Sherri

July 9, 2018

Sebastian's Owner

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0 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

July 9, 2018

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Nial

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Manx

dog-age-icon

6 Years

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Mild severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Pain
Constipation
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.

July 7, 2018

Nial's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 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.

July 7, 2018

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Chocolate

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tabby

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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?

June 12, 2018

Chocolate's Owner

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0 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

June 13, 2018

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Mr. B.

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Oriental Shorthair

dog-age-icon

8 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Rupture Every Three Months

My eight-year-old Oriental Shorthair has had repeated ruptures of one of his anal glands. I am not aware of the problem until I notice the raw spot to the right of his anus. Then the area heals over ... until the next time. We are dealing with an episode now, but because he is eating and doesn’t feel as if he has a fever, I am not taking him to the vet. I am, however, leaning toward the surgery to remove the gland. I understand that he may lose bowel control post-surgery—a terrible prospect. I can’t find any statistics about this. How common is the loss of control in cats the age of mine? Does his breed make a difference? He is naturally very thin but a good eater. I would be taking him to a soft-tissue specialist.

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Bear

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Maine Coon

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2 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

My Maine Coon Bear has been having scooting issues for months. Her anus is constantly dirty and it drips to her vaginal area. I have to daily clean her butt. Been to the vet and no one knows what to do. She's scooting on EVERYTHING. Helo my stinky butt friend!! Bear has to be miserable.

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Garfield

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American Shorthair

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Licking At Anal Area

My cat has been licking excessively around his anus, to the point where his fur is balding just above his anus itself. It doesn't seem inflamed, and doesn't have any sort of odor - he is an indoor only cat that is harness-trained, but I'm always very careful to watch what he eats. He's had tapeworms before, but was treated for them and I don't think he has them again. Could this be an anal sac issue?

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Chappie

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Shorthair

dog-age-icon

15 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Clingy
Anxious
Pooped Outside The Litter Box

My dude was being super weird immediately after his sister had to be put down. He squatted down and pooped in front of me on the floor for the first time in his 15 years of life a little while after I returned home without her, and was unusually clingy, was on my lap or in my arms for days on end. Unfortunately, I misattributed his behavior to mourning and stress. Four days ago I noticed a bald patch and a large-ish hole next to his anus. I panicked and rushed him to the emergency vet, where they gave him antibiotics and pain meds. They said since it ruptured on it’s own, it wouldn’t require surgery, and had to heal on it’s own. It says here that surgery IS required when it ruptures though. It has scabbed over now and he seems to be doing well, but I’m worried this will be a continual issue, and that they should have done surgery. What now?

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Pepe

dog-breed-icon

Not

dog-age-icon

18 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic
Crying
Bloody

Took Pepe to the vet bout a month ago because he had blood and looked very swollen around his anus. The vet said that he had a infection from some feces that stuck to his fur and it irritated him. The gave him a shot and sedate him to check if there was a blockage or something but it was all good. All his blood work came back perfect for his age. Well he has some blood again around his anus, but nothing in the litter box. Idk if we should take him back to the same vet or if we should get him to another vet for a second opinion? If anyone has any ideas please let me know.. Thank you in advance!!

Anal Sac Disease Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$800

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