What is Anal Gland Expression?
Anal gland expression is a procedure which is performed on cats or dogs when fluid inside the gland builds and the animal is unable to express the fluid themselves. A professional pet groomer may offer to perform this quick procedure if needed, but it is essential that you take your pet to an experienced groomer who can identify possible infections or situations which require veterinary care.
What is an Anal Gland?
Cats and dogs have a very small anal gland located on each side of their rectum. The purpose of the gland is for scent marking, and each time an animal defecates, or needs to leave their signature scent, a very tiny amount of fluid is expressed from the glands. Most pet owners never notice their pet’s anal glands, fluid expression or any problems with the glands. It is only when the animal seems to have difficulty periodically clearing fluid from the gland that a problem may develop.
How to Tell if Your Pet Needs Anal Gland Expression
When the anal glands become filled with fluid, and the pet is unable to express them, the glands can become uncomfortable and painful. Symptoms which are associated with packed anal glands include:
- Dogs scooting on the floor or chasing their tail.
- Cats and dogs repeatedly licking or chewing around their rectum.
- A foul odor around the cat or dog’s rectum or tail area.
Anal Gland Expression and Professional Grooming Services
If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, it is best to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will be able to tell if the anal glands need to be manually expressed or if perhaps the glands have become impacted or infected. Some pets only develop an anal gland problem occasionally or never at all, but other pets may have lifelong problems with their glands which require periodic expression.
In cases where a pet needs expression of the anal glands, the glands are pressed from each side to squeeze the fluid from the glands. The glands may also be cleared by applying pressure from the inside of the rectum to the outside of the glands. If a pet needs regular anal gland expression – and no infection is present – than a professional groomer may offer this service. The procedure can quickly be performed while the pet is groomed, and the groomer can ensure that all of the fluids have been removed from the pet’s fur.