G.I. Tract Inflammation

Inflammation of the GI Tract and Other Organs

A major reason why we often see recurrent anal gland issues is inflammation of the GI tract. Keep in mind that the rectum in the anus or the very last part of the gastrointestinal tract and any underlying disease or disease cascade that can influence the gastrointestinal tract can also influence the anal glands.

So, for instance, inflammatory bowel disease. If you’ve got inflammation of the colon, the anal glands can be infected. If your pet has allergies, allergic gastritis or allergic colitis, that can also cause inflammation of the anal glands.

And most importantly, anything that can cause soft stools, such as parasites, medications, and antibiotics, are also major risk factors for causing anal gland issues.

This is because part of healthy anal glands is based on firm stool. When feces pass out of the rectum, it’s the pressure of the firm stool against the colon wall that effectively expresses the anal glands. If your pet’s stools are recurrently soft or if they’re having diarrhea often, that’s really a major metabolic reason why recurrent anal gland issues can become a problem.

The underlying cause that must be addressed in that case is whatever is causing the soft stool.

Allergies can Also Irritate Your Pet’s Anal Glands

If your pet is sensitive to rag weeds, grasses, pollens, molds or other allergens in their environment, this can be a problem for their anal glands. All it takes is your pet sitting down outside for those allergens to transfer to the anus and cause overwhelming itching.

So your dog may start to scoot, itch, become red and irritated, and even chew at its rectum, which can create the anal gland problem. So if you’ve got an allergenic pet, addressing the root cause of the allergies is a great way to secondarily address the anal gland problem.

Anal Glands can also be in the Wrong Spot

Some animals have anal glands that are placed deep and low inside of the rectum. In this case, even though there is healthy stool being passed out of the rectum, there’s not enough pressure to the wayward anal glands to effectively empty their contents during a bowel movement. Very rarely in those situations, those animals have to have anal gland expression performed because they’re not capable of doing it on their own.

In extreme circumstances, sometimes the anal glands have to be surgically removed but you need to know, in my opinion, this is the very last choice. Surgical removal of anal glands falls under the surgical definition of a “salvage procedure”, which means it can carry with it a whole host of complications.

So, first and foremost, if you’re having problems, identify what the root issue is. And if your pets do have an ergonomic problem (anal glands are set abnormally deep), then you can rely on expression, through a trained professional as minimally as possible, to help provide some relief to your pet.

If your Pet’s Anal Glands are Healthy, Don’t Express!

I want you to remember that if your pets don’t have an underlying anal gland problem, leave them alone! Do not squeeze the anal glands. If your pets do have anal gland problems, identify if it’s an inflammatory response, an allergic response, or a soft stool issue. Addressing the underlying root cause of why your pets are dealing with the recurrent anal gland problem is the best choice to deal with this problem.

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