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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.
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 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 not associated with incontinence.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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0 found helpful
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.
April 10, 2018
Dr. Michele K. DVM
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.
April 10, 2018
He has had it removed
April 11, 2018
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2 found helpful
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).
April 4, 2018
Dr. Michele K. DVM
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.
April 5, 2018
My Sophie a Seven years shit Sue was diagnosed with a mass on her right anal gland which is come back cancerous they’re going to remove the Anal gland but before they do that they’re going to take x-rays and ultrasound to see if it has spread into her lymph nodes and lungs the size of the mass is the size of a P and we hope we caught it early and will know more after the ultrasound and x-rays. The doctor said if it’ is stage one and it hasn’t spread it’s probably won’t have to have radiation . The vet said that chemo isn’t normally recommended for that area but radiation is
June 9, 2018
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