Anal sacs are small paired pockets located between the internal and external anal sphincter muscles, one on each side of the anus at the 4 and 8 o’clock position. The sac empties through a short and narrow duct to the surface near the inside edge of the anus. Each sac is lined with abundant sebaceous (oil) glands and numerous apocrine (sweat) glands. The secreted substance is a semi-oily, brownish fluid that packs an odor strong enough to gag a maggot!
For unknown reasons some dogs’ anal sacs produce a rather thick, semi-solid material which is much more prone to impacting the sac due to the sacs’ inability to pass this semi-solid material through the narrow duct to the outside. In many of these cases the sac will become infected, cause pain and inflammation and even break through to the skin surface.
The abscessed anal sac may need surgery to provide drainage and curettage of the damaged and infected sac and surrounding tissue. Antibiotics are indicated in abscessed anal sac disease.
Anal sac disorders affects about 12 percent of dogs. here is an 88 percent chance the thought of anal sacs will never even occur to you. However, if your dog is one of the 12 percent that scoots his rear bumper along the carpet, frequently turns to lick or bite at the base of his tail or anal region, or displays discomfort when passing stool, it would be advisable to make an appointment with your veterinarian If left untreated, anal sac impactions, infections and abscesses can be a reoccurring nuisance for your dog so be proactive about an evaluation if your dog displays any discomfort in the tail or anal region. Signs of problems include licking the anal area and scooting.