Anal glands are sac like structures found within the layers of the anal sphincter at the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock positions. They can get blocked or inflamed and cause irritation. Sometimes they can get infected, and abscessate, breaking out through a fistula to the skin. Many cases of blocked anal glands can be managed by expressing the contents periodically by hand!
For patients where the frequency of blocking and/or the discomfort caused by expressing the contents creates a real problem, or for the occasional cases where we simply can’t manage to drain the blocked glands, then removal of the glands can be considered.
The procedure is not difficult but it can be a little fiddly. Some vets refer these cases because they are concerned about the risks of surgery. These include a small risk of faecal incontinence if the nerves to the anal sphincter are damaged and the possible consequences of grumbling infection if the glands rupture during removal or if small pieces of their walls or their contents get left behind.
23rd December 2017