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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Anal Sacculectomy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Ask a Vet

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Gandalf

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Siamese

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

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?

April 11, 2018

Gandalf's Owner

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0 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

April 12, 2018

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Bentley

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tabby

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10 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

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.

March 16, 2018

Bentley's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 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.

March 16, 2018

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Nacho

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Domestic short hair Tabby

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12 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

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

Jan. 13, 2018

Nacho's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 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.

Jan. 13, 2018

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

Jan. 13, 2018

Nacho's Owner

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Max

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Domestic shorthair

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Waxy Anal Sac Expression

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.

Jan. 6, 2018

Max's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 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.

Jan. 6, 2018

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Suzy

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Calico

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16 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

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?

Dec. 25, 2017

Suzy's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 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.

Dec. 25, 2017

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