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What is Anal Sacculectomy?

Anal sacculectomy in dogs is the removal of one or both of a canine’s anal glands. The anal glands are openings of the anal sacs located at the five and seven 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 gland. 

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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 sedated, 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 the 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 completely 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 not associated with incontinence. 

Efficacy of Anal Sacculectomy in Dogs

Anal sacculectomy is a highly effective procedure that provides permanent relief to dogs suffering from anal gland impaction, abscessation and infections. Left in the hands of an experienced surgeon, any complications associated with this procedure are uncommon.

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 common for a dog to experience constipation after surgery, but if no stool has been passed three to four days after surgery, contact your veterinarian. A stool softener such as lactulose or Metamucil can be administered under veterinary recommendations until bowel movements return to normal. 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. 

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 $750 to $2,000. Although costly, an anal sacculectomy is a permanent solution and can save pet owners a great deal of money down the road.

Dog Anal Sacculectomy Considerations

Anal sacculectomy has very little complications if the surgical procedure was completed correctly and the anal sphincter was avoided. 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. If the surgeon inadvertently pierces the rectum during dissection, a non-healing fistula may develop from the anus to the rectum. Lastly, if the anal gland was not removed completely, an abscess may arise from the piece of leftover anal sac. 

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. Due to the domestication of canines, the need for anal glands have become obsolete and problems arise because they are not being used. Anal gland expression has helped canines from developing problems, performed by a licensed veterinarian or technician about every month. 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.

Anal Sacculectomy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Baz
Hound
12 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Pain , discharge From the ducts

My 12 year dog had a adenocarcinoma in his anal sac glad 7 weeks ago.
It became infected , the anal sac reopened internally ..and his has been on antibiotics -
First nisamox for a month and now climacin.
He is still very uncomfortable - he finds it difficult to find a position to sleep . I am giving him tramadol as he taking Palladia for th cancer ... is there any other treatment ... suppository to locally treat it .?
He has had a ct scan which shows scarring ... it breaks my heart to see him in pain , when I know he is also fighting the cancer which he didn’t have any symtoms when we accidently found the small tumour.
Or something to boost his immunity ...
he is eating fine and his stools are good too.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1093 Recommendations
Anal gland cancer can be removed surgically, and I'm not sure if you have discussed this option with your veterinarian? If that is not an option that you are considering, he may need more pain medications, and it would be best to discuss Baz's needs with your veterinarian. I unfortunately do not know very many details about his situation, and have a hard time commenting on what else you might do to help. I know it is terrible to watch him be in pain, and I hope that you are able to provide some palliative care for him.

He has had it removed

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Kramer
miniature poodle
9 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Itching

Yesterday (Tuesday) we had both anal glands removed from our dog. There was a mass on one of the anal glands the size of a peanut. His calcium levels were fine and there were no signs of problems with the lymp nodes. While we are waiting for the biopsy results the vet mentioned that if it comes back as cancer they want to start him on a chemo pill. I just want to know if there are any other options. If not, is the chemo pill something he will have to take for the rest of his life? The vet said his dog has been on the chemo pill for 2 years (unless I heard him incorrectly).

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1093 Recommendations
Anal gland cancer tends to be resolved by surgical removal. If his pathology comes back as positive for a neoplastic process, it might be a good idea to seek a referral to a veteirnary oncologist to determine if any further care is needed.

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Huxley
Great Dane
Four Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Leaking Fluid From Anus

My 4 year old Great Dane (175lbs) had an anal gland sacculectomy five days ago. He's been on antibiotics and pain meds. Today we noticed some watery looking blood had passed from his anus onto our carpet where he slept. The site does not look infected. Just now when I gently lifted his tail to look (while he was laying down) he started to pass more watery looking blood from his anus (not from the incision site). The amount of blood/leakage was about a tablespoon. Should we be concerned or is this part of the healing process?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2507 Recommendations
Some discharge may occur from the anus and if the surgical site is looking good with no issues with defecation I would monitor the situation for now and follow up with your Veterinarian when they open if it continues. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Maggie
Shih Tzu
7 Years
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

none

Hi , my dog Maggie had her anal gland erupt about 3 years ago. Since then she has been getting her anal glands expressed every 3 months at the vet. In November they noticed a mass in that same gland that erupted. Last week she went back to get her anal glands expressed and the mass is still there she’s not sure if it’s larger or not. Did blood work to check the calcium levels and it came back fine but she is still suggesting that we remove her anal glands. From what I’ve read it sounds like a very painful procedure. I would hate to put her through all that if it is just a cyst. Since they’re not sure if it is cancerous or not she said it could be a cyst. I would just like to know how serious is this procedure ? What is recovery going to be like ? If it is cancer what are the chances of it coming back? Would it be crazy to just monitor it for now and redo the blood work in a few months or is this something that should be taken care of right away.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1093 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Anal gland cancer tends to be curative once the gland is removed, which is good news, but it can have side effect of fecal incontinence. It is typically a routine recovery, but it isn't without risks. If the mass is small, and not causing any problems, you may be okay to monitor the gland, and her calcium levels, to see if things resolve or worsen. The one that thing that having the glands removed would do would be to remove the worry aspect for you. It would be best to talk with your veterinarian about options, as they have examined Maggie and know more what her individual situation is.

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Lucy
German Shorthaired Pointer
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Anal Discharge

My German Shorthair had an anal succulectomy on Thursday. During the night she let out some small portions of stool. On Friday she is letting out small portions of stool when she sits in a certain position or she gets excited. When she goes outside for a normal BM the anus seems to close as normal. Is this a normal side effect for the first few days? My vet said it could be a number of things and as long as the anus is closing during a BM she should be okay. I am just looking for another opinion. Thanks.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1093 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. The nerve supplying the anus is irritated during that surgery, and there can be a recovery period where mild incontinence may occur. Typically as the inflammation decreases over time, the incontinence improves. If she is continuing to have this problem, a recheck with your veterinarian would be a good idea.

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Ella
Shephard/Lab mix
9 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

none

Our dog Ella, a 9 year old shephard lab, spayed female, no history of anal impaction, has been "scooching" on her butt occasionally lately. Took her to the vet on an unrelated matter and asked my vet if expressing her anal glands may ne necessary. Upon expressing her glands, she told me she found a small mass, about the size of her pinky nail. She isn't able to get a needle in there to aspirate and is recommending an anal sacculectomy. Full blood panel was ordered, urine collected. My concern is with both the surgery and the possibility of this being cancerous, My vet told me it could also be a fibroid or a benign mass. Should I be looking at other options or go ahead with the surgery?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1093 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Dogs do get anal glands masses, and they can be benign, or malignant. If your veterinarian feels that removing the gland is best, that may be the route to go, as I cannot examine Ella. One other option, however, might be to monitor the size of the mass over a few weeks, and check her serum Calcium, as that often rises with anal gland cancers. You can discuss options with your veterinarian, as they know her entire health status.

Hi,
I’ve had the same thing happen. They found a mass in my dogs anal gland. Did blood work to check her calcium and all is fine there but they’re still suggesting removal of her anal gland. Just wondering if you went ahead with it or not. I’m still debating. From what I’ve read from other who have done it , it sounds like a very painful procedure and long recovery. It’s a hard decision to make ... :(

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Rocco
Dochaund
9 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Annual gland removal

We had our surgery on Wednesday today is Friday and he seemed better yesterday but today is acting like he is in pain , he is on a antibiotic as well as his pain medication that he can only take twice a day is this normal 2 days out ? Also wondering what we could use in place of diapers as they don’t stay on him at all and trying to avoid him scooting and opening his stitches up.,
Thank You

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1093 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. 2 days post op, he could still be painful, and it may be a good idea to contact your veterinarian to have them prescribe additional pain management. I hope that he does well.

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Mookie
American Pit Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier
14 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

Our dog had left anal gland removed on Friday. She had passed normal stool the evening of the surgery and had the urge every 10 minutes all night until the next morning. She has been having diarrhea for two days and small amount stool comes out when she is sleeping or just sitting. She has been on Tramadol and antibiotics. Her drain will be removed this morning (Monday). The urge seems to lessen although she has loose stool. I was wondering if her incontinance is permanent or could it be related to antibiotics and surgery combination. Thank you in advance.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1093 Recommendations
Thank you for contacting us about Mookie today. It isn't surprising for her to have some incontinence right after her surgery, as there are nerves involved in retaining anal tone that are damaged during that surgery. With the irritation to those nerves caused by the surgery, they may take a little while to become fully functional again. While there are some cases where incontinence is permanent after anal sacculectomies, it thankfully isn't common. Giving her a little time to recover and waiting to see how she does once she is off of her post-operative medications makes sense in this case. I hope that she does well.

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Fredo
German Shepherd Dog
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

I have a 3 & 1/2 yrs old German Shepherd dog whose anal glands have been removed in april 2017. The operation was successful and no problems of gland infection after the surgery. But the problem we are facing is that the gap has not filled in after the surgery on right side of his anus and the incision is open. I am doing dressing regularly. There is no fluid leak or stool leak. No bowel problems no blood. So need your advice on medicine for healing his incision cavity. Please help me

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2507 Recommendations
If the wound is open, at this point it is possible that no medicine is going to help; the wound may need to be debrided and sutured together since the wound margins may not be suitable for healing. Secondary infection, dead tissue and other issues are possible complications. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Snooch
Chihuahua
17 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

none

My chihuahua is 17 years old and was just diagnosed with a tumor in his left anal gland. I got a quote from his current vet and it's over $3K. Is there anyway to get the necessary surgery done at a cheaper price? My dog has no symptoms at this time, but I was told that he will eventually lose the ability to use the bathroom.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2507 Recommendations
There are cheaper options which vary in price and the price of removal will vary according to your location; I would recommend reaching out to charity clinics and other organisations for help. Below I’ve included a link to a charity clinic in Virginia which offers affordable veterinary care, whilst I understand that most likely you are not in that area (may be Washington State or Alaska) it can give you an idea about pricing of some organisations. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.helpinghandsvetva.com/procedures-pricing/

Dr. Turner,
Are you aware of any such types of Vet in the Atlanta & surrounding area that can do a removal of a right anal gland? We have had over $1,200 worth of tests + evals to come to the original conclusion (by us yet was told the tests must happen) the removal is the best option then test to see if its malignant. All tests and x-rays show it has not spread or impacted any other body area. Current going rate if $3500-4,000 at a specialty vet and we are unable to even come close to paying such a price.
Thank you

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Mia
Dalmatian
2 1/2 yrs,
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

bseems normal and passing stools OK

have 2 1/2 yr old Dalmation, Vet's exam of anal glands on 10/25/17 showed some blood. Started RX (Baytril), saw her today (10/31) still some blood going back next week (11/7) and if there is still some blood is recommending removal, should I?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2507 Recommendations
If the issue with the anal glands are ongoing it would be advisable to consider having them removed as the surgery will clear up the problem and will prevent recurrence of any issues in the future. This is a decision to be made together with your Veterinarian if there is no response to medical treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Charlie
Basset Hound
10 Years
Moderate
Has Symptoms
Scooting His Hind End Along The Ground
We were not informed that this procedure was going to be performed. We authorized a biopsy of a small anal nodule and removal of the nodule during a pre-operative phone call (just to get the nodule out and to have clear margins of excision to prevent further surgery. We found out after he came home and uncontrolled pain set in. We didn't have diapers on hand nor any of the things needed for post operative care of a single anal gland. The pain our dog had was horrible with him crying and trying to wipe his butt on the floor constantly. He pulled one suture, causing bleeding, leading to an ER visit who increased his pain medications and examined his incision. Diapers were a problem -- getting them to stay on. Even with suspenders, he still walked out of them. Our dog is 10 and old for a basset Hound. At his age, I would not have approved the surgery and didn't. It was very hard on our dog and our family. Continuous hot and cold compresses and trying to keep him comfortable and keep the diapers on. He just cried and kept trying to scoot across the floor.