It is often thought that when a dog is seen to scrape its bottom along the ground that they must have worms but in fact it is much more commonly due to having full or infected anal glands. Dogs and cats have these glands but cats rarely have problems associated with them. They are also known as "scent glands" and are located under the skin below the anus at the 4 and 8 o'clock position (when looking from behind). The glands produce a smelly secretion which is expressed naturally via a narrow duct when the animal defecates. If a duct becomes
blocked for some reason then the glands fill up and become uncomfortable for the dog. In this case the dog will rub their rear on the ground, lick regularly at the backend or suddenly jump and look around at their rear. Some dogs can show other signs which may look unrelated such as: chewing at their feet or flanks and generally feeling and looking miserable. Most problems are caused by simple blockages because the ducts are too narrow and these are easily treated
by your vet who will manually emptying them. Some mild cases of anal gland problems can be helped by adding a stool bulkening agent to the diet such as bran.
Some glands can become partially blocked and can therefore leak when they fill up. Blocked
glands can increase the risk of infection which we commonly see. In this case blood or pus is expressed from the glands. These cases require oral antibiotics and often an antibiotic syringed directly into the gland. Unfortunately some of these infections can be quite persistent and occasionally an abscess can form.
If you are concerned that your pet may have a problem with their anal glands, please make an appointment at County Vets to have them checked out.