Anal gland disease - Is it common among Labrador Retrievers?
The anal glands, also called anal sacs are two small glands located on both sides of a dog's rectal opening - at 8 and 4 o' clock positions. Each gland holds a brown and strong smelling liquid which is released when your dog defecates or urinates. Dogs use this brown secretion as a scent marking device to mark their territories because each dog has its own unique smell. That explains why dogs raise their tails and sniff each others butt when they meet. This behavior is just like a human shaking hands with someone he just met.
These anal glands empty naturally when the dog urinates and defecates but some dogs are not fortunate enough to empty these glands naturally. Failure to empty these glands cause discomfort and even pain to some dogs. This may give way for bacteria to build up leading to various problems such as anal gland impactions, infections and abscesses. There are signs to watch out indicating gland problem in your dog. Excessive licking of the anal area is the most common sign. You will also see your dog scooting or dragging his rear across the floor. Check your dog's stool if it has become soft and mushy. If one or more of these signs are present, visit your veterinarian immediately for check up and treatment of this problem.
There are different ways to treat anal glands problem in Labrador Retrievers and other breed. The most common process is emptying these glands manually. Manual emptying can be done by a veterinarian, a groomer or even by the pet owner himself. It is best to empty the anal glands during bath time. Wear a latex gloves and insert a finger into the rectum. Squeeze the gland until the size shrink. This process is uncomfortable to dogs so be sure to do it slowly and gently. The secretion will help you identify the main cause of the problem.
Dry or toothpaste-like secretion indicates blockage while foul smelling liquid indicates infection. Antibiotics is often prescribed to dogs with infection. In some cases wherein manual emptying and antibiotic cannot treat anal gland problem, flushing and ointments are used. After emptying the glands, it is flushed with iodine solution and packed with a special ointment. If all other treatments failed, one more measure is to remove the gland. Removing of the gland should be done in an operating theater and the patient should be under anesthetic because it is a full surgical procedure.