What are the anal sacs and anal glands?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – I'm not familiar with this. I'm a nurse and we don't have this problem in human medicine (thank God). What are the anal sacs? How do they differ from the anal glands?

Sarah M. – Albany, NY

Answer

Hi Sarah – thanks for your email and question. You asked – what are the anal sacs and glands. The anal glands are also referred to as anal sacs. They are two glands that secrete a pungent fluid. The fluid travels through small ducts that open into the anus. Typically, this fluid is released during defecation or territorial marking.

The anal glands are located on either side of the anus, just under the skin, at the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions. The glands are embedded in the muscle of the anal sphincter and are not readily visible.

Some dogs can develop anal gland infections and disease. For more information on these conditions, please read Anal Sac Disease in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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