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

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
1491 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/

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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
1491 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.