Ask the Vet Archive

Your chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!

Topic: anal sac disease

Question from Felicia in Wilmington:
My dog often scoots his rear end across the carpet. What does this mean and should he see his veterinarian?



Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
"Scooting" is sometimes thought to be linked to a worm infestation; however, it is actually more often caused by impacted or full anal sacs. Your dog's "scooting" represents an attempt to empty his uncomfortably full anal sacs.

Two anal sacs are located just inside your pet's anus and contain glands which secrete a foul smelling material thought to be useful in territorial marking. Many dogs and cats can empty the sacs on their own, but others need the help of a trained professional. Dogs and cats which "scoot" or lick at their anus or "back side" should be evaluated. Impacted anal sacs can become infected and even develop into an abscess.

Because your dog is "scooting," an appointment with his veterinarian is recommended. The frequency of anal gland expression is dependent upon the individual pet. Some pets only need to have the sacs emptied twice a year while others require monthly visits. A bloody discharge coming from the skin near the anus is indicative of an abscess and your pet should be seen immediately.

Posted March 5, 2006

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