Is your Labrador Retriever excessively licking his read end? He may be suffering from anal gland infections and trying to overcome swelling and inflammation of his anal sacs. Anal Gland problems in Labradors are not exactly rare. This health issue can cause infection, pain, and discomfort in your Labrador – especially during the potty time.
What is Anal Gland Problem in Labradors?
A dog has two anal glands – each found on the two sides of the dog’s anus. Positioned between anal sphincter muscles, anal glands are also called anal sacs. There are numerous oil and sweat glands inside secreting a semi-oily, brownish fluid with a strong odor, which is what dogs use to spray or mark their territory. This leads to the name of anal glands as scent glands, as the oily and smelly brown liquid emitting from them helps one dog identify another through its smell.
Often these sacs generate a thick, semi-solid material. Unable to come out through the narrow duct, the material is stuck in the anal glands. It may lead to anal gland problems, such as annal duct obstruction, pain, inflammation, and infection in these glands.
About 10 to 12 percent dogs develop anal gland problem. The treatment may include antibiotics to surgery depending on your Labrador’s conditions.
What Causes Anal Gland Problem in Dogs
There is no definite reason for anal gland problem in dogs. Infection, obstruction, injury, constricted sacs, or sphincter muscle dysfunction, all contribute to the disorder in varying degrees. It is observed that some dogs are born with very narrow anal ducts and obstructions are more likely in them causing infection and inflammation of glands. Trauma, allergy, chronic inflammation, generation of semi-solid material from anal sacks, and perianal infections contribute to anal gland problem in dogs even though they are born healthy. Small breeds are more likely to have the problem than large breeds.
Lack of fiber-rich diet could be the reason for anal gland problem in Labradors. It becomes difficult for anal glands to eliminate food rich in grains, as most part of such diet is not digested properly. Even veterinarians, grooming experts, and owners may damage anal sacks when they try to pinch or squeeze it. When you try manual expression too often, it decreases the effectiveness of the glands to eliminate on their own.
Signs of Anal Gland Problem in Labradors
A Labrador suffering from anal gland problems may show the following signs.
- Your dog is found to be excessive licking of his rear end.
- He may engage in scooting – sliding while sitting – too often
- The dog is seen biting his rear fervently and too often.
- There may be prolonged defecation, which is unusual earlier.
- You may find foul odor coming from the rear end of your dog and such a thing was not there earlier.
- The Lab may have reddish or swollen skin in the rear end due to the inflammation of anal glands.
The anal glands are designed in such way that they empty on their own. When dogs poop, the fluid developed inside the anal glands gets squeezed out as well. However, if the fluid does not come out or struck in the anal duct, the problem is likely to occur. The anal fluid stuck inside the sac may become dry and thick, clogging the openings. This is something we call anal gland/sac impaction. It may result in pain, discomfort, and infection.
Fixing Anal Gland Problem in Labradors
Anal sac impaction may sound awful but it is actually easy to treat. To fix this, you will have to express these glands and empty it gently.
If it is your first time, it is ideal to have the procedure demonstrated by a veterinarian. When not done right, the procedure may do more harm and lead to infections and ruptures.
If your Labrador has anal gland problems and there is blood present in his stool, he might need antibiotics. So a trip to the vet may be necessary.
Some dogs are born with defective anal gland positions. Surgery is the best option in such cases.
Anal Gland Problem Prevention
Anal gland problems can be nasty but it is pretty easy to prevent. To prevent anal gland problems in your Labrador, you must give your Labrador Retriever a healthy diet that has enough fiber. Exercising him regularly also helps.
In case your Labrador experiences anal sac problems despite a proper diet and regular exercise, then a regular anal sac expression may be needed.