Anal Sacculectomy in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Anal Sacculectomy in Dogs - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Anal Sacculectomy in Dogs - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention

What is Anal Sacculectomy?

Anal sacculectomy in dogs is the removal of a canine’s anal glands. The anal glands are openings of the anal sacs located at the four and eight o’clock positions around the anus. The anal glands are scent organs used to mark an animal’s territory upon defecation. When a dog defecates, the muscles contract and allow the anal sacs to release a foul-smelling, dark-colored substance and empty out the anal sacs. However, dogs that suffer from anal gland impaction, infection, or abscess cannot secrete this substance and often require veterinary aid. If these problems cannot be managed medically, the veterinary surgeon will need to remove the anal sacs. 

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Anal Sacculectomy Procedure in Dogs

Prior to conducting the anal sacculectomy, the surgical team will perform a blood chemistry test to ensure the canine is healthy enough to undergo surgery. To control pain both during and after surgery, the veterinary team will prescribe a pain management program that will keep the dog comfortable. The pain management program will likely include a combination of general anesthesia including an anti-inflammatory drug, oral analgesics, epidural analgesia and/or injectable analgesics. Once the dog is anesthetized, the area around the anal glands will be shaved and scrubbed with an antiseptic scrub solution. The surgeon will complete the surgical preparation process by positioning the animal to meet surgical needs and drape the dog’s body to prevent contamination of the surgical site. 

Beginning the anal sacculectomy, the surgeon will make an incision near the anus directly over the affected anal gland. The gland is then dissected from the external and internal anal sphincters. Extreme care is taken during the removal of the anal gland, as disruption of the anal sphincter could result in permanent fecal incontinence. The opening created by the veterinarian will be flushed out with an antiseptic solution before closing the surgical site completely or prior to placing a drain. A drain is usually placed if the dog has been suffering from a chronic anal gland infection, as infectious material should be drained entirely before complete closure. If only one anal gland is affected, the surgeon may choose to leave the healthy anal gland intact as unilateral anal sacculectomy is less commonly associated with incontinence. 

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Efficacy of Anal Sacculectomy in Dogs

Anal sacculectomy is a highly effective procedure with the aim of permanent relief for dogs suffering from anal gland impaction, abscessation and infections. There is a risk of incontinence after the surgery, but this is not common. Incontinence may occur for example, in the case of a large dissection such as a cancerous tumor in the anal sac. If the dog is able to lick and touch the area after surgery, infection sometimes occurs and antibiotics are needed. Additionally, if there was an anal sac rupture before surgery took place, an abscess may occur due to the presence of anal sac tissue left behind after the operation. (The surgery is more challenging because of scar tissue.) If this happens, a second surgery is sometimes needed.

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Anal Sacculectomy Recovery in Dogs

Following an anal sacculectomy, pain management is the main goal for a canine’s aftercare, paired with infection prevention. Your dog’s surgeon will prescribe pain-relieving medication, as well as an antibiotic that should be given as directed. It is not uncommon for a dog to experience constipation after surgery, but if no stool has been passed three to four days after surgery, contact your veterinarian. Other dogs will experience diarrhea and there will be a need to gently clean the area. Some dogs may need to have a bowel movement more often than normal for the first few days. No matter which situation you face, take your dog outside more often the first several days after the sacculectomy. As the incision created during surgery is directly related to the rectum, it is highly important for pet owners to check the incision site for infection every day. Signs of incision site infection include discharge, pain, redness and swelling, which should be reported to the veterinarian. 

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Cost of Anal Sacculectomy in Dogs

Anal sacculectomy is a delicate procedure that can only be performed by a veterinary surgeon, which means the expected cost of this surgery is going to be about $1,000 to $2,000. The price will vary depending on the difficulty of the removal and how long your pet needs to remain in the hospital.

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Dog Anal Sacculectomy Considerations

Anal sacculectomy typically has few complications but as with any surgery, risks should be discussed with your veterinarian. For example, a dog could develop a mild form of fecal incontinence following an anal sacculectomy, which may be noted by the inability to control gas or the passing of fecal matter. Studies show small dogs are more prone to the occurrence. As well, if the sphincter nerve was touched or damaged during the procedure, the inability to control the movements of the bowel can occur. This is rarely permanent. Additionally, if the surgeon inadvertently pierces the rectum during dissection, a non-healing fistula may develop from the anus to the rectum.

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Anal Sacculectomy Prevention in Dogs

Chronic conditions of the anal glands such as impaction, infection, and abscess can occur for several reasons. Experts believe that the anal glands in dogs serve the purpose of marking territory and averting predators when threatened. Some canines do not express the glands fully, causing them to gradually fill up. Overweight dogs often have this problem; talk to your veterinarian about a weight reduction program for your pet. A dog that has developed a gastrointestinal disease that affects stool consistency may have a problem with the glands even though they previously did not. Discuss a diet change for your dog with your vet as a trial to see if a bulkier food can aid the anal sac elimination process.

Anal gland expression has helped canines from developing issues, performed by a licensed veterinarian or technician as needed. Typically done every few months, this procedure is a manual expression of the anal glands, which completed incorrectly could cause anal gland problems. Pet owners should never have their dog’s anal glands expressed by anyone other than a veterinarian. Dog groomers, pet store staff and dog trainers are generally not certified or medically trained to express anal glands in any pet unless they have received specific training.  

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Anal Sacculectomy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Shih Tzu

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Seven Years

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11 found helpful

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11 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Post Anal Sac Surgery

My dog has had anal sac surgery from a vet at the early stages when the red bump was just discovered. He did surgery to remove it but now there is just a gaping hole where the infection was. The vet told us to apply Entederm and give him his medication and it would be ok. But what I want to know is that 1) will the wound close up? 2) when is it safe for him to take a shower? 3) is it ok to take him outdoors? Thank you.

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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11 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It is hard to answer your questions, unfortunately, without knowing how long it has been since the surgery or being able to see what the wound looks like. Surgery of the anal glands is a common surgery where the sutures might break down because of the area that it is, and it is prone to infection. I think because I can't see it, frequently rechecks with your veterinarian would be a good idea, and I would not expect that there would be a charge for that as a follow-up to surgery. They would be able to monitor how well it's healing, and see if anything else needs to be done. I hope that he continues to recover well and everything goes fine for him!

July 24, 2020

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Dachshund

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Seven Years

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Has A Bump Come Up 2Nd Time Now, 1St Time Vet Went In And Found Stitch. His Procedure Was 3 Yrs Ago And Still Has Issues

What to do? See a specialist? I’m at my wits end for my dog.

July 20, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It is difficult to say what you might be able to do, as I'm not sure what the problem is that your dog is having. If he is having incontinence issues, that is sometimes related to the surgery, if he is having recurrent infections, that can be related to the surgery as well. Since it's hard to say without knowing what problems he's having, it may be best to have a frrank conversation with your veterinarian, see what they think might be going on, and get a second opinion if you are not sure. If they feel that having a specialist look at him is the next best step, they can refer you to that person. I hope that all goes well for him.

July 20, 2020

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