Just inside a cat’s anus are two small glands: the anal glands (generally known as anal sacs). If you think about your cat’s anus because the face of a clock (that may be the strangest starting to any sentence I’ve ever written), the anal glands are positioned on the 4 and the 8 place, and produce a foul-smelling secretion.
Originally, these glands allowed cats to mark their territory and beat back predators, however they now not serve a lot objective now that cats have turn into domesticated. Small quantities of anal gland secretion are launched when a cat defecates; nevertheless, cats could specific the whole contents of those glands once they get excited or scared.
As a cat veterinarian, I can’t start to rely what number of occasions I’ve been “glanded” within the examination room by a frightened or nervous cat. The room all of a sudden fills up with a distinctly disagreeable musky, fishy odor. If it will get on my shirt or my lab coat, I’ve to alter clothes instantly or the scent will cling to me all day.
Diseases of the anal glands are extra frequent in canines, however they do happen in cats as effectively. Common anal gland problems embody impaction, abscesses and tumors.
When it’s impacted
Impaction happens when the duct main from the gland to the anus turns into clogged, and the gland turns into distended because it fills with the secretion. As the gland distends, the strain inside will increase, which causes discomfort.
Cats generally exhibit this discomfort by “scooting” — dragging their anus on the ground or carpet, though this conduct is extra generally seen in canines. The extra frequent conduct in cats with anal gland irritation is extreme licking, cleansing and customarily fussing with the anal space. Occasionally, cats will present reluctance to sit down or to poop, and will maintain their tail in an uncommon place.
Anal gland impaction could be handled by having your veterinarian specific the anal glands manually. This relieves the strain throughout the gland and reopens the clogged duct, which normally resolves the issue. Having expressed hundreds of anal glands over my profession, I’ve realized the right way to do it shortly and comparatively painlessly, however all cats nonetheless hate having it performed.
When it’s an abscess
Sometimes, the entrapped anal gland secretion will turn into contaminated. This isn’t shocking, given the shut proximity of the glands to the anus. Pus will start to build up throughout the gland, forming an abscess. If the pus contained in the gland can’t escape by way of the traditional route (the duct main from the gland to simply contained in the anus), the pus will attempt to burrow by way of the pores and skin across the anus. In some situations, the pus ruptures by way of the pores and skin and drains out by itself, which stands out as the first signal an proprietor notices.
Anal gland rupture typically leads to pores and skin harm in that space, requiring anesthesia, an intensive cleaning and surgical trimming and/or removing of the broken pores and skin. A number of stitches could also be required to scale back the scale of the wound and promote faster therapeutic. If the abscess is recognized earlier than the gland ruptures, it would have to be lanced by your veterinarian whereas the cat is sedated or beneath anesthesia. After the abscess is lanced, antibiotics are prescribed for just a few days. Warm compresses to the world assist velocity up the therapeutic, however this may be tough, as most cats aren’t too eager about having a heat fabric utilized to their backside.
Cats with recurrent anal gland issues would possibly profit from a high-fiber food plan, because the fiber leads to a bulkier stool, which places extra strain on
the anal glands throughout defecation, permitting the glands to be expressed extra effectively.
Overweight cats are at elevated threat for anal gland problems, so sustaining a wholesome physique weight will help cut back the incidence of all these issues. Cats that suffer repeated impactions or abscesses could require surgical removing of the anal glands. In my expertise, that is hardly ever vital.
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Kitty received anal gland issues?
If one thing is occurring, you’ll in all probability discover this sort of motion within the anal sac space:
✔ extreme licking
✔ reluctance to sit down or poop
✔ tail held in uncommon place
✔ an abscess types
If you’re seeing this, it’s time to take kitty to the veterinarian to precise the anal glads and deal with the impaction.
©ablokhin | Getty Images
Could or not it’s most cancers?
Cancer of the anal glands (known as anal gland adenocarcinoma) is, fortunately, an unusual situation in cats. The signs typically mimic these of an anal gland abscess, together with:
✔ ulceration of the pores and skin surrounding the anus
The most well-liked therapy choice for anal gland adenocarcinoma in cats is surgical removing of the cancerous anal gland; nevertheless, these are usually aggressive tumors, and the most cancers has typically unfold to different elements of the physique by the point a prognosis has been made, necessitating a poor prognosis. I really feel lucky to have by no means recognized a case in my apply.