There is a simple reason for scooting dogs. While worms are a common cause, the answer can be found in the anal glands. The gland contains a smelly liquid that dogs use to identify each other. Dogs use the odor as an identifier when sniffing the anus of another canine. Symptoms of anal gland impaction include a bad odor, licking the anus, and as mentioned, scooting on the floor.
Locating the Anal Glands
The anal sacs are on the sides of the rear end inbetween the exterior and interior sphincter muscles. The sphincter keeps feces inside the dog. When feces pass through the anus, the sphincter muscle expresses the anal glands, causing the liquid to empty.
Anal Sac Diseases
Anal glands can be as small as a pea or larger in bigger breeds. Problems occur when the liquid remains in the glands longer than normal. When the glands fail to empty, the liquid contents can thicken. This makes it tough for the liquid to empty and may end up causing anal gland symptoms. As the glands fill they start to swell, making it uncomfortable for the dog. Many dogs suffer from anal gland infections, a condition that requires antibiotics and a veterinarian to drain the glands. One sign of infection is unusually bad odor.
While rare, tumors can also cause a blockage. Tumors only grow in one gland. If the growth is metastatic, it can move to nearby lymph nodes, the lungs and liver. If a neoplasm is causing impaction, see a veterinarian as soon as possible. A dog diagnosed with an anal sac neoplasm has a prognosis of approximately 544 days.
Pet owners can prevent anal sac issues by taking note of and acting on any early symptoms. Dogs that suffer from anal gland issues will slide across the floor on the anus or lick the rear end. The strong smell is also an indicator that a problem requires owner attention.
Treating the Problem
Anal glands in a healthy pooch will empty as a byproduct of the feces elimination process. In dogs prone to anal sac impaction, an owner can be trained to empty the sacs. A groomer or vet can express the glands during an office visit. Dogs with frequent issues have the anal glands surgically removed.
Ms. Doggins is the publisher of many articles on dog anal sacs and behavior. She enjoys teaching owners about canine wellness in order to help avoid disease and prevent behavior problems. When not working with dogs, she can be found caring for her very own pets, or as a volunteer at a local no kill shelter.
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