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What is Rectal Itching?

Rectal itching can indicate a variety of issues that could lead to more serious complications. If you feel that your furry family member is experiencing bouts of rectal itching that go on for prolonged periods of time, or that keep reoccurring, you will want to investigate the cause. An anal sac disorder or a tumor may be the problem, which are both conditions that cannot be left untreated.

Rectal itching is described as periods of licking, scratching or scooting by your dog, which appear indicative of irritation or discomfort in the anal area. A relatively common occurrence in canines, rectal itching should be checked by your veterinarian because it can signify a problem that should not be ignored.

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Rectal Itching Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $500

Average Cost

$350

Symptoms of Rectal Itching in Dogs

The symptoms of this condition are very straightforward. Your canine companion will most likely exhibit the following behavior if suffering from rectal itching.

  • Scooting or rubbing his behind along the floor
  • Licking around the tail or anus
  • Scratching or biting the area around the tail or anus
  • Your dog may appear restless or even distressed about the itching

Of course, there could be additional symptoms, (like odor or pain) that accompany a disorder that may be the cause for the itching.

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Causes of Rectal Itching in Dogs

  • There are several reasons why your pet could have rectal itching.
    • Flea allergy
    • Food allergies can present with itching of anal area
  • German Shepherds, Dachshunds, Chocolate Labs, Poodles, Boxers, and Weimaraners

    are predisposed to food sensitivity

    • Anal sac issues like full anal glands or infection of anal glands
  • Smaller breeds tend to have anal gland impaction and other related problems
    • Yeast infection of the skin around the anus
  • Basset Hounds, German Shepherds, West Highland White Terriers, Shih Tzus, Malteses, English Setters and Cocker Spaniels

    are prone to this infection

    • Tumor near the anal area
    • Perianal fissures (ulcers and cracks in the skin of the rectum)
  • German Shepherds

    have a larger quantity of apocrine glands in the anal canal and thus, can have more chance of fissures, but other breeds Beagle, Bouvier des Flandres, Spaniels, Irish Setters, Collies, Old English Sheepdogs, Labrador Retrievers and English Bulldogs are known to have problems as well

    • Fecal contamination causing irritation of skin in anal area
    • Passing of tapeworm segments can cause itching
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Diagnosis of Rectal Itching in Dogs

The diagnostic process to identify the cause of the rectal itching can be a complex one. Your veterinarian will begin by asking questions about the recent health of your pet.

  • How long has your canine companion had the intense itching?
  • Is the itching constant or intermittent?
  • Does he seem distressed, or just mildly bothered by the itching?
  • Is he itching other places on the body besides the rectal area?
  • What do you feed your dog?
  • Have you traveled recently?
  • Has he been ill lately?

The veterinarian will want to do a physical examination. Depending upon how cooperative your dog is, he may or may not need to be sedated. For example, in the case of perianal fissures, there may be a fair amount of pain, making a rectal examination impossible without a sedative.

The veterinarian will need to check for swelling, and look for skin issues. In the instance of a suspected yeast infection, a skin scraping or swabbing will be necessary in order to view possible organisms under the microscope.

If a food allergy is the likely culprit, an eight-week food trial will be done. Your dog will be put on a veterinary prescribed elimination diet. The previous diet will be re-introduced after the eight week period. In most cases, your dog’s condition will improve on the elimination diet, and if an allergy is present, it will return within two weeks of your pet being back on the previous food regimen.

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Treatment of Rectal Itching in Dogs

The extent of the treatment of the rectal itching will depend upon why your animal family member is experiencing the itching. If there is a tumor present, surgical removal might be required. Other scenarios could include the following.

  • Anal gland issues
    • If the glands are full, the treatment will be a simple expression of the gland. If there is an infection, a prescription for antibiotics will be given
  • Tapeworm infection
    • The itching may be caused by tapeworms; in that case, oral or injectable medication will eliminate the infestation
  • Yeast infection
    • The yeast (malassezia pachydermatis) will need to be removed with bathing using a veterinarian prescribed shampoo, or in some cases with additional oral treatment or topical medication
  • Perianal fissures
    • Stool softeners, antibiotic therapy, and perianal cleansing will be advised; in particular instances, more extensive treatment is needed

As always, follow your veterinarian’s instructions diligently for a favorable resolution to the itching problem.

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Recovery of Rectal Itching in Dogs

Relieving your pet of the irritating itch will be a great relief to him, and to your peace of mind. There may be extensive clinical follow-up required. If this is the case, be sure to keep all appointments and check ups even if your canine companion appears to be back to normal. Rectal itching can return if the initial cause or underlying disease is not resolved.

While your pet is on the prescribed medication or diet changes, you may need to have him wear an Elizabethan collar to prevent your dog from scratching or biting the anal area. This is important because healing cannot take place if your dog is continuing to irritate the area.

Dietary adjustments may include added fiber (if the situation involves anal glands). Diligent flea control will be part of preventing the recurrence of tapeworm. Good grooming practices, taking care to ensure that the anal area is clean, will prevent further irritation for your dog.

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Rectal Itching Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $500

Average Cost

$350

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Rectal Itching Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Pitt bull

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Itchy Butt Redness

What can I give my dog for his itchy butt and redne2 he keeps scooting and licking his butt

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Without being able to see your dog, it is difficult to say, but dogs do sometimes do that when they're having problems with their anal glands. Those glands can become impacted and painful, and sometimes do need to be expressed by a veterinarian if they are having problems. If this is something that is not improving, it would probably be a good idea to make an appointment for your dog to have him seen. Parasites can also cause that kind of thing, and a veterinarian will be able to see what might be going on. I hope all goes well.

yesterday

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Mixed breed with terrier

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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10 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Red Itchy Butt Right Under His Tail

I just noticed this morning that right around my dogs anus, right underneath his tail it's red and a little inflamed. I don't know what I can do to help him and if I should be concerned

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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10 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If it looks like just a mild irritation, you may be able to wash it gently with a chlorhexidine solution like hibiclens twice a day for a few days and see if that helps. If that is not helping, then it would be probably best to have him seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine the area and see what might be the cause. Once they know more they can get medication so that this does not get worse. I hope that all goes well for him.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Belgian Malinois

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10 weeks

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

Hello, my puppy has had diarrhea for the past 2 days and she also has been dragging her bottom. She has had her first 5 in 1 vaccine and also i gave her small dog 4 in 1 worms treatment. Abdominal area is not swollen either.

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello- Thank you for your question. My first recommendation would be to have her examined by a veterinarian for the diarrhea. Bring in a stool sample to check for intestinal parasites as there isn't a dewormer on the market that treats all common parasites. Parasites are one of the most common causes of diarrhea in puppies and kittens. There are certainly other causes such is generalized colitis, stress, food change, or parvovirus to name a few. Your veterinarian will be able to prescribe medication to help with the soft stool and may recommend a short term diet change to help with the inflammation in the GI tract. I hope she feels better soon.

Aug. 6, 2020

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English Cocker Spaniel

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Seven Years

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Unknown severity

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5 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Butt Itching

I noticed a small red lump next to my dog’s rectum. She’s been scooting her behind on the ground at times and is now licking at her rear end.

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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5 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Dogs have anal glands next to the rectum, and those can get impacted and cause pain. If they are impacted enough, they can rupture and then that is messy and quite painful. It sounds like she is telling you that she has a problem, and it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible, so that they can check her anal glands and express them if needed. They will be able to let you know if there was more than that going on once they can see her. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 5, 2020

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Morkie

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Itching,Liking His Butt Continuously

Why did my dog just start liking his butt ,he will be playing and quick stop to like his butt like he just got bit .

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Hello- Thank you for your question. Perianal itching can be due to several things. It could be due to full anal glands, environmental or food allergies, or potentially due to fleas. It would be a good idea to have a veterinarian examine him and check his anal glands. If normal your vet can prescribe medications to help with the itchiness. I would also recommend making sure he is on an appropriate flea preventative. I hope he feels better soon.

July 31, 2020

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Celine

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American Pit Bull Terrier

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9 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Licking At Genitals

My dog Celine has had a couple medical issues in the past prior to us adopting her however, everything has been going well and treated thus far apart from her separation anxiety. When left alone she tends to lick her butt for a good 5-10 min at a time at random almost to calm herself then she goes about her day. However when we are home all day with her she never licks her butt. Sometimes when we are gonna she licks it to the point that makes it irritated and red. Our vets have her on Prozac currently but it just continues to happen when we leave. We have tried to have her anal glands expressed but there was nothing in them.

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Nico

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Miniature Pinscher

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10 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Excessive Licking
Excessive Licking, Distressed

My Miniature Pinscher, Nico, was diagnosed with something similar to Colitis. His anal glands were checked by the Vet and nothing expressed. He was placed on medication for approx 8 weeks. It finally cleared up however, his stool and habits have changed. Since that time he has been obsessively licking his butt. He even becomes angry if you try to stop him. He seems very stressed over this and after each bowl movement he immediately licks. He does this constantly. He has even foregone eating to continue licking. He does have a strange smell now as well. I give him baths and that doesn't calm him either. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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Heidi

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German Shepherd

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3 Years

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Mild severity

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4 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Licking

My dog has been recently in the last week licking her anus and tail area, that area seems more red than normal. There is no sign of fleas or anything else wrong in the area, just the redness. She is on a good diet, normal exercise and monthly flea prevention medicine. She has never had issues in the past.

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Buster Helms

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Dachshund

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13 Years

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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

Licking Of Butt

My mini dachshund, buster, has always had anal gland issues. He has to have them expressed at dr Boyce’s every 2-3 weeks. He has now started licking his behind constantly. Did not do this before, as I was looking him over I touched where his glands are so lightly and a light lime green/yellowish color liquid came out. His glands secretions are red/brown colors. I am worried he has an infection, it’s Sunday so no vet til morning. Suggestions ?? He is blind now, has been for 3-5 months. But this just started. Help.

Rectal Itching Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $500

Average Cost

$350

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Probiotic for dogs and cats

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