Anal Sac Disease in Dogs | Treatment and Prognosis
PetWave | Dog & Cat Information

Treatment and Prognosis for Anal Sac Disease in Dogs

Treatment Goals

When an owner suspects that his dog may have something unusual going on in the area around its anus, he should take his pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible. In most cases, an anal sac problem is not an emergency. However, if ignored, the condition can quickly get worse and become increasingly difficult to treat. The goals of treating anal sac disease are to relieve the dog’s discomfort and pain, unplug and empty impacted sacs, reduce inflammation, eliminate associated infections, heal abscessed areas and remove identifiable tumors.

Treatment Options

The first and most urgent treatment for a dog with impacted anal sacs is to manually – and very gently - express the contents of the sacs. This should be done by a veterinarian or by a skilled veterinary technician. In cases that recur frequently, the dog’s owner can be taught how to perform this procedure at home. However, most owners find the process offensively smelly and unpleasant and prefer that somebody else handle it outside of their presence. If an infection is present, the veterinarian will flush the anal sacs with sterile saline or another appropriate substance and apply an antibiotic or antibiotic-and-steroid medication directly into the affected areas. It is almost always necessary to use heavy sedation, and sometimes general anesthesia, for those procedures. Anal sac abscesses often rupture. They are treated the same way, using saline, antibiotics and topical steroid treatments. If an abscess is present but has not yet ruptured, hot packs can be applied to the area several times a day, to help bring the abscess to a head. The veterinarian can then lance the abscess to establish a route for drainage, which will greatly reduce the dog’s discomfort. A full course of broad spectrum oral antibiotics are often recommended for dogs with anal sac disease. Some dogs have chronic recurrent anal sac problems. In those dogs, long-term treatment includes managing the dog’s weight, increasing the amount of insoluble fiber in its diet and making sure that it gets an adequate amount of physical exercise. In severe cases, the anal sacs can be removed surgically by a procedure called an “anal sacculectomy.” Identified tumors can also be surgically removed, if necessary.


With appropriate treatment, the outlook for dogs with non-malignant anal sac disease is good. Most dogs respond well to non-surgical medical management of the condition. When the anal sacs are surgically removed, because of cancer or for some other reason, the prognosis becomes more guarded. Dogs may develop fecal incontinence after an anal sacculectomy, or if a lot of scar tissue has built up from recurrent problems. If no treatment is undertaken, the prognosis for a return to normalcy is guarded to grave.

Source: PetWave


Growing Pains in Dogs (Panosteitis)

Growing Pains in Dogs: Learn about Growing Pains, including how they can affect your dog,...

Hydrocephalus (Water on the Brain) in Dogs

Hydrocephalus in Dogs: Learn about Hydrocephalus, including how it can affect your dog, and what...

Sunburn and Dogs - Can a Dog get Sunburned?

Sunburn in Dogs: Learn about Sunburn, including how it can affect your dog, and what...

Portosystemic (Liver) Shunts in Dogs

Portosystemic Shunts in Dogs: Learn about Portosystemic Shunts, including how they can affect your dog,...

Dog Dermatitis (Skin Problems)

Dermatitis in Dogs: Learn about Dermatitis, including how it can affect your dog, and what...


Dog Health Dog Health
Learn about the most common diseases affecting dogs
Puppy Training Getting a Puppy
A new puppy in the house can cause quite a whirlwind of excitement
Dog Breeds List of Dog Breeds
Comprehensive list of dog breeds with specific breed information

Find a Dog Breed?

With so many dog breeds to choose from, sometime it's easier to seach based on certain characterisitcs.

Caring for your Dog?

There is more to caring for your dog than just feeding it. Find out all you need to know to make sure your pet stays healthy.

Training your Dog?

A dog's behavior plays a key role in making a great pet. Training your dog makes a happier dog, and you will be happier too.

Ask a vet?

Have a question?
Ask a Vet Online NowSM

Ask a Vet

About Us | Review Board | Badges | Tell a Friend | Bookmark this Page | Submit Feedback | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Dog Breeds | Cat Breeds | Dog Health | Cat Health | Dog Training | Cat Training | Dog Care | Cat Care | Dog Adoption | Cat Food & Diet

Advertise on - A Pet360 Media Network Partner

Become a Fan of on Facebook Become a Fan on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter Email Friend about Tell your friends about PetWave

© 2015 PetWave Corporation. All rights reserved
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian. PetWave disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information view our Terms of Service.