These are two glands located one
or either side of the anus. They usually contain a foul-smelling
matter which is expelled at urination and/or defaecation and which
acts as a territory marker. A secondary function of these glands
is to act as the body's dustbins in that they are a means of collecting
and discharging waste matter from the system.
Many dogs have problems with the
anal glands - they cause discomfort which causes the dog to rub
its rear-end on the ground or floor ("tobogganing or scooting").
The usual management involves manual
expression of the contents of the glands which usually has to
be done by a veterinary surgeon. Sometimes these glands may even
develop an abscess which may burst discharging blood and pus.
The German Shepherd breed seems to be prone to develop a condition
called anal furunculosis which is a chronic inflammation and infection
of the glands and surrounding area.
Some veterinary surgeons recommend
the removal of troublesome anal glands, but removing the anal
glands surgically is akin to a household doing away with its dustbins
and keeping the household rubbish under the bed!
Anal gland problems are usually blamed
on lack of roughage (fibre) in the diet but in fact the problem
tends to be seen most in dogs fed on indigestible foods which
produce bulky faeces anyway.
In fact, if the anal glands fill
up and cause trouble it is possibly due to low-quality diets which
create an excess of waste matter in the system. It is also possible
that anal gland disorder can be due to dietary intolerance.
Common pet health problems
John Burns Pet Health Management