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Anal Sac Disease in Dogs

By: Dr. Cathy Reese

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Diagnosis

Diagnostic tests may be required to confirm the diagnosis and exclude other diseases causing similar signs. Tests may include:

  • A complete history and physical exam

  • Rectal examination, including an attempt to manually express (empty) the anal sacs – this could require sedation.

  • Blood tests (anal sac tumors can cause an increase in blood calcium levels)

  • If a tumor is found, chest and abdominal X-rays to check for tumor spread to other organs (lungs, lymph nodes) and an abdominal ultrasound to check lymph nodes for tumor spread

    Treatment

    For simple impactions and cases of inflammation, expressing the anal sacs may be all that is necessary. If the anal sacs cannot be expressed while your pet is awake, then anesthesia may be necessary to express and flush the anal sacs. Other treatments may include:

  • Antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs may be given orally or infused into the sacs if necessary.

  • Chronic cases of impaction or inflammation may require surgical removal of the anal sacs.

  • Abscesses of the anal sacs are lanced and flushed, and then treated with oral antibiotics.

  • Tumors of the anal sacs are treated by complete removal of the affected sac. Affected lymph nodes can also be removed, although this is more difficult.

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