top of page

Anal Sac Disease in Dogs and Cats

Anal Sac Disease (ASD) is a common issue in dogs and cats that can cause significant discomfort and lead to further health complications if not addressed promptly. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and preventive measures can help pet owners manage this condition effectively.

What Are Anal Sacs?

Anal sacs, also known as anal glands, are small glands located at the five o’clock and seven o’clock positions around the anal opening. These glands release a foul-smelling liquid used for scent marking every time your pet defecates.

Causes of Anal Gland Problems

Several factors can lead to anal gland issues:

  1. Soft or Loose Stools: Normal defecation helps express the anal glands. Soft stools may not provide enough pressure to empty the glands completely, leading to blockages.

  2. Digestive Issues: Chronic gastrointestinal problems can affect stool consistency, contributing to anal sac disease.

  3. Allergies: Allergic reactions can cause inflammation and swelling of the anal glands.

  4. Infection: Bacterial infections can lead to the formation of abscesses in the anal glands.

  5. Obesity: Overweight pets may have difficulty naturally expressing their anal glands during defecation.

  6. Poor Anatomy: Some pets may have anatomical issues that make it difficult for their anal glands to empty properly.

Symptoms of Anal Sac Disease

Watch for these signs that may indicate your pet is experiencing anal gland problems:

  • Scooting: Dragging the hind end on the ground to relieve discomfort.

  • Excessive Licking: Persistent licking or biting of the anal area.

  • Straining to Defecate: Difficulty or discomfort while defecating.

  • Foul Odor: Sudden release of a strong, unpleasant smell.

  • Pain or Discomfort: Signs of pain or sensitivity near the hind end.

  • Bleeding or Swelling: Visible signs of inflammation or infection around the anal area.

In cats, symptoms can be more subtle and may include defecating outside the litter box or excessive grooming of the hind end.

Diagnosing and Treating Anal Sac Disease

If you notice any symptoms of anal gland problems, it’s important to consult your veterinarian. A thorough examination will determine the severity of the condition.

Treatment Options:

  1. Manual Expression: Your veterinarian can manually express the anal glands to relieve blockage.

  2. Antibiotics: If an infection is present, antibiotics may be prescribed.

  3. Pain Relief: Anti-inflammatory medications can help alleviate pain and swelling.

  4. Surgical Removal: In chronic or severe cases, surgical removal of the anal glands may be necessary.

Preventive Measures

To prevent anal gland problems, consider the following tips:

  • Diet: Feed your pet a high-quality diet that promotes firm stools, which help naturally express the anal glands.

  • Weight Management: Maintain a healthy weight for your pet to reduce the risk of anal gland issues.

  • Regular Check-Ups: Regular veterinary visits can help monitor your pet’s anal gland health and address any issues early.

  • Hygiene: Keep the anal area clean and monitor for any signs of discomfort or infection.


Anal sac disease can be uncomfortable and painful for pets, but with proper care and attention, it can be managed effectively. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and preventive measures, you can help ensure your pet’s comfort and health.

For more information on pet care and health, visit

Anal Sac Disease in Dogs and Cats
Anal Sac Disease in Dogs and Cats


Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page