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What is Anal Sacculectomy?

Anal sacculectomy is a surgical procedure which is primarily used to treat anal sac disease. There are two anal sacs, also called glands, in cats. These sacs are responsible for producing and secreting fluids which are used to mark the cat’s territory. Prior to their widespread domestication, it was important for cats to mark their territory as a way to fend off predators. Today, there is less of a need to do this, so these glands are underused. This can cause these fluids to accumulate in the glands, contributing to impaction, infection, and disease. Anal sacculectomy, or surgical removal of the anal gland(s), can cure these problems in cats.

Anal Sacculectomy Procedure in Cats

  1. The cat will first be anesthetized, shaved, and prepped for surgery. Cats may be given epidural anesthesia and other pain management medications during surgery to manage pain.
  2. The surgeon will make the initial incision over the anal gland.
  3. The diseased gland will then be separated from the anal sphincters before it is removed.
  4. The surgeon may or may not choose to remove the other anal sac, even if it is healthy, to prevent future disease.
  5. The surgeon will ensure the entire affected anal gland has been removed and that no damage to the anal sphincters or rectum has occurred before using absorbable sutures to close the surgical site underneath the skin.

Efficacy of Anal Sacculectomy in Cats

Anal sacculectomy is typically curative of anal sac disease in cats. The prognosis for anal sacculectomy in cases of cancer may be more guarded depending on the type and severity of the cancer. Additional treatments, including medication, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, may also be required for cats diagnosed with cancer of the anal gland.

Anal Sacculectomy Recovery in Cats

Antibiotics and analgesics will be prescribed following surgery. Owners should replace normal litter with pellets to avoid postoperative contamination of the surgical site. Cats that have undergone anal sacculectomy will need to wear an Elizabethan collar to ensure they do not irritate the surgical site. Postoperative swelling is usually minimal, but if owners notice any abnormalities around the surgical site, such as pus, swelling, or bleeding, they should contact their trusted veterinary professional immediately.

Cost of Anal Sacculectomy in Cats

The cost of anal sacculectomy will vary based on costs of living and additional costs incurred, including medications. The cost of anal sacculectomy typically ranges from $750 to $2,500.

Cat Anal Sacculectomy Considerations

When performed by an expert, the chance of postoperative complications is minimal. However, postoperative complications are possible. Most surgeons prefer to leave the healthy gland intact, as removal of both glands can result in fecal incontinence. It is also possible that cats will lose some control over their bowels following surgery. Most often, this is a temporary problem that will resolve shortly after surgery. Hemorrhage, infection, incontinence, recurrence of cancerous masses, and rupture of the surgical site are also potential postoperative complications.

If part of the anal sac has remained following surgery, abscess or chronic draining may result. Sometimes, the surgeon may accidentally nick the rectum, which can result in a fistula that will not heal. However, these complications rarely occur, especially when the procedure is performed by a professional.

Anal Sacculectomy Prevention in Cats

Anal sac disease is not usually chronic or recurring. However, chronic anal sac disease is more common in obese cats. Owners can decrease their obese cat’s chance of developing anal sac disease by feeding cats a diet high in fiber.

Anal Sacculectomy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

BooBoo
Ragdoll
12 Years
Serious condition
2 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Blood on rectum

My 12 years old Ragdoll has had an anal sac abscess burst 3 times in the past 8 months. It is the right side. Our Vet recommends surgery. We did try a high fiber food for the past few months but this did not help. He has feline herpes, is overweight and quite sedentary. Will these conditions put him at a high risk for surgery?

I hope everything has worked out, my guy had a rupture in Feb, and now again 4 months later.. I feel so awful for them - mine too had antibiotics, an anti-inflammatory shot and pain meds (he ended up being allergic to the pain meds which makes it much worse -we all hate to seem them suffer) he’s booked in for this surgery in a couple days, and as a concerned mother.. I’m doing the google thing worried he may end up incontinent etc.

My cat is slightly overweight, but they ran bloods on him and said he would survive the surgery just fine - I’m sure this would be the case with yours or they wouldn’t operate.. I’m hoping he is feeling much better

Overweighted won’t put him in high risk. Go ahead and make the surgery for your cat. My 7 years old cat (female) got the same problem your cat got! She had an anal gland abscess in the right side, the first time was in 2016, the second time was in January 2019, yesterday was her third time. I am actually getting annoyed by this problem. I took her today to the vet, veterinarian has cleaned the area and noticed that the left one was also affected. He told me that I should keep using the wipes and the medication for 10 days. I have to take here back after 10 days he will see if she will need the surgery or not. I wish they make the surgery because having the same problem every 2 or 3 months is really annoying! I wish your cat doing better now.

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Sweetpea
Siamese original Thai.
7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Anal sac
Anal gland
Gland

My 7 years old cat (female) had an anal gland abscess in the right side, the first time was in 2016, the second time was in January 2019, yesterday was her third time. I am actually getting annoyed by this problem. I took her today to the vet, veterinarian has cleaned the area and noticed that the left one was also affected. He told me that I should keep using the wipes and the medication for 10 days. I have to take here back after 10 days then he will see if she will need the surgery or not. I wish they make the surgery because having the same problem every 2 or 3 months is really annoying!

Read more at: https://wagwalking.com/cat/treatment/anal-sacculectomy#_=_

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Cordelia
Calico
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Bleeding
Anal Leakage

Over the past several months i have noticed that from time to time Cordelia has some fluid or mucus leaking from her anus. It wasn't very often, and she didn't seem to be too bothered by it. At some point recently it started getting more and more frequent and longer lasting. Sometimes the mucus was greenish like boogers, or brownish like feces. I've even seen it almost completely clear. When the mucus started looking bloody i took her to the vet, who expressed her anal glands (which were apparently quite backed up). He gave her some de-worming pills and some antibiotics and sent us on our way.

The problem has not resolved itself. Her anal leaking is just as frequent, and almost always a fairly thick mucus and bloody. Does this sound like a problem with her glands? Or could it be something else in her digestive tract? As i mentioned, not only does the leaking not seem to be bothering her, but i dont think she notices that its happening. Which is quite gross as i find little drops on the floor and atop the bed where she usually sleeps.

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Ace
domestic short hair
4 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Peeing all over house

Will anal glad removal help a cat stop peeing on my rugs? He had bladder stones removed, and has been ok since that surgery. But keeps peeing on the rugs in the house. An occasional random item and on the carpet too. I love this cat but this is ridiculous. I have 4 cats and 4 liter boxes. I keep them clean, plus I bought pheromone plug ins and has wearing a pheromone collar. HELP!!!

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1610 Recommendations
It can be difficult to stop a cat from urinating in inappropriate places once they have learned to do so. It was probably painful for Ace when he had the bladder stones, and he may have learned that the litter box hurt. It would be a good idea to check and make sure that he doesn't still have a bladder infection, with his history, and if his veterinarian doesn't see any signs of infection or abnormal pH, you can try confining him to a room with food, water and a litter box, and gradually increase the amount of space that he is given once he starts using the box again. I hope that all goes well with him.

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Suzy
Calico
16 Years
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Restlessness and Discomfort

How long is the recovery process? My cat just had this procedure 4 days ago and the e -collar has been rubbing her until she’s bleeding under her chin. Also it’s difficult for her to eat. Any suggestions?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1610 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Typically, healing of the skin takes about 5-7 days. I'm not sure how long your veterinarian recommended for her to wear her E-Collar, but it would be best to follow their instructions. If the collar is causing her to bleed, and she won't eat, you can take the E-Collar off while you are with her, and watching her closely to make sure that she isn't licking at her surgery area, to give her a break from it and let her eat, and let her skin rest a little. You just don't want to leave her unattended without the collar, as she can lick at the area. It would be a good idea to call your veterinarian when they are open, let them know that it is causing trauma to her skin, and find out if they think she needs it after 4 days, since they performed the procedure. You can also buy soft E-Collars at pet stores that are less firm and will be softer on her skin if she needs to continue to wear it.

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Bentley
tabby
10 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

butt scooting

Our kitten is only 10 months old but scoots his butt on this floor frequently, don't think he has worms because he is on regular prevention and have not seen any evidence of worms in his fecal or floor. Took him to the vet once to express his anal glands and started feeding him pumpkin puree as meal supplements but doesn't seem to be getting better.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1610 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. WIthout examining Bentley, I am not sure what might be going on with him, but if he isn't improving, it would be best to have him rechecked to see what is going on with him, and what might be done about it.

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Max
Domestic shorthair
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Waxy anal sac expression
Vomiting

My cat Max has always had issues with anal sacs. We put him in a high fiber prescription food, which has helped but not eliminated the problem completely.

He also has hairballs a lot, do we give him a feel in his food which helps.

Unfortunately he goes through bouts of vomiting and there doesn't appear to be hair in it. I think it's the high fiber food irritating his stomach.

What's my best option? Should I have the sacs removed? When expressed the result is also a very thick waxy consistency. Max is about 3 1/2 years old.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1610 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Some animals do have problems with their anal glands due to anatomic problems, and a high fiber diet does sometimes help, as it forms a more solid stool. The surgery to remove the glands is curative, as the glands are gone, but it is not without risk, as I am sure that your veteirnarian discussed with you. If the alternative is taking Max to have his anal glands expressed as needed versus surgical removal of the glands, I think that is a decision that you will have to make based on your lifestyle and patience level. Your veteirnarian will be able to help guide you to a decision as well, as they know Max and his individual situation. I hope that everything goes well.

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Gandalf
Siamese
8 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Abscess

Hi - my cat has a recurrent (every couple of months)abscess on his butt cheek. Vet thinks there may be a leak from his anal gland causing this, as she found what she believes to be anal sac material in the pus from the abscess and feels the anal gland has scar tissue. Recommends removal of both anal sacs. Have you ever heard of this happening?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Anal glands may cause a variety of issues including abscesses, fistulas among other problems; if Gandalf is having regular issues with his anal glands you should look at having them removed since this is a recurring problem. I cannot confirm that this is the cause, but if you have concerns you can visit another Veterinarian for a second opinion. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Socks
Calico
7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

sprays every time

My cat is spraying everything, My stereo speakers, peeing on the floor in my studio, we got a covered cat box so when he does it there it is contained. He seems to do this every time he pees. Is it possible and or ethical to remove this gland if there is no disease? Oh he also has destroyed every nice couch and dining room furniture in the house.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1610 Recommendations
There isn't a gland that you can remove that will stop a cat from urinating. If Socks isn't neutered, that may be one reason that he is doing, this, or he may have a urinary tract problem that needs to be treated. It would be a good idea to have him seen by a veterinarian to make sure that there isn't something medically wrong, and discuss other treatment for him, since a veterinarian will be able to get a more thorough history and exam for him.

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Milo
Siberian
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Bleeding

My cat has to get his anal glands expressed every three months. As of late he has been vomiting once daily and has blood in his stool. His last expression (two weeks ago) the tech mentioned they were very thick and the excretion was "like peanut butter". I am concerned he may need his glands removed or if this can be solved through antibiotics. As it's a problem he's always had should I opt for the surgery now if we will just end up at that option down the road anyways?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
If Milo is having this chronic anal gland issue, then having the glands removed would be the best course of action; this would need to be discussed with your Veterinarian and antibiotics would only be useful if there was a sign of infection. Since Milo is young, he should have no issues with the surgery and would most likely be the best result. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Nacho
Domestic short hair Tabby
12 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

This is the second time my boy has to have his annal gland expressed (same one) whitin two months. Prior to that he never had issues. He is 12 and overall healthy, my concern is that the vet is recommending removal after he heals from this time. After reading all the possible complications im worry if that's the best option...i love my cats like my children so you will understand my concern. Thank you in advance

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1610 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. There are possible complications with anal gland removal, as you have researched. Another option would be to take him in regularly to have the glands expressed, or to add more fiber to his diet to try and bulk up his stools. Your veterinarian can discuss those options with you as alternatives to surgery, as I have not examined Nacho. I hope that everything goes well with him.

Thank you so much for your prompt response. I will definitely discuss other alternatives to surgery before making a decision. I was very pleased and impressed with your quick response. Kindest regards

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