Some diseases of the anus In Dogs are genetic and present at birth while others occur later in life.
Anal Sac Disease In Dogs
Anal sac disease is caused by the clogging of the anal sac glands which are on each side of the anus. It may also be caused by an infection in the anal sacs. It is the most common disease found in the anal area of dogs. The anal sacs produce a dark liquid that has a foul odor and are related to the scent glands of skunks. The liquid is secreted during defecation. Small breeds are predisposed to this disease whereas it is rare in large or giant breeds.
Anal sacs can become infected, cancerous, abscessed or impacted. There are several common reasons as to why anal sacs become impacted or clogged. These include poor muscle tone in obese dogs, failure to release the liquid during defecation, and excessive secretion of the gland. When the contents of the gland are not released every so often, the gland can be susceptible to bacterial overgrowth, inflammation and infection.
The symptoms of anal sac disease are pain and discomfort when sitting. The dog may scoot the rear on the ground, lick or bite at the anal area, and there may be pain when defecating. In impacted glands, there may be hard masses which can be felt in the area of the sacs. In infected or abscessed sacs, the dog may have severe pain and there may be discoloration of the area. There may be wounds caused by open tracts of tissue that can lead from the abscess and rupture through the skin. There may be anal sac tumors. The veterinarian will perform a rectal examination which can help diagnose anal sac disease. If the disease is suspected to be related to a tumor or infection, the veterinarian may order other tests. Impacted anal sacs may be able to be manually squeezed. The veterinarian may inject a softening agent if the material is particularly hard or dry. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat any infection. It may be beneficial to apply hot compresses to any abscesses. Supplementing the diet with additional fiber can increase the amount of fecal matter which can aid in the compression and emptying of the anal sacs. However, the anal sac can be surgically removed if the treatment is ineffective or the condition recurs. It is common for dogs to have fecal incontinence after surgery but this is usually temporary.
Perianal Fistula In Dogs
Perianal fistulas are chronic wounds with a foul odor in the tissues surrounding the anus. There is not a known cause for this but it is more common in German Shepherds. It has also been reported in setter and retriever breeds. Dogs over seven years of age are at a greater risk of perianal fistula. It is possible that the fecal matter and secretions of the anal sac can contaminate the hair follicles and glands in the anal area. This contamination may lead to tissue damage and long term inflammation of the tissues and skin of the anal area. It is possible that dogs who are susceptible to skin conditions are more often affected. A defect in the immune system or low level of thyroid hormones may contribute to the susceptibility. The chances of contamination are higher in dogs with broad based tails. Deep anal folds may also cause fecal matter to be retained with the rectal glands which can contribute to the problem. It is important for the condition to be treated quickly so as the infection does not spread through the body. The symptoms can include, straining to defecate, biting the anal area, painful defecation, lethargy, change in attitude, licking the anal area, appetite loss and diarrhea.
The treatment of perianal fistulas previously was to remove the anal sacs and any diseased tissue. However, as this can cause incontinence and rectal narrowing, it is only recommended for dogs who show no improvement after medical treatment. The veterinarian may prescribe any of the several medication that have proved to give effective treatment and possibly a stool softener which will help the dog to defecate without straining or pain. Antibiotics may be given to reduce any inflammation. Cleansing the anal area may also help to reduce any anal inflammation. It is extremely important for the owner to follow any instructions very carefully.
Perineal Hernia In Dogs
Perineal hernia is a hernia near the anus. It is most often seen in male dogs between six to eight years old, who are not neutered. Old English Sheepdogs, Dachshunds and Dachshund mixes, Kelpies and Kelpie mixes, Welsh Corgis, Collies, Boxers, Boston Terriers, and Pekingese are at greater risk of perineal hernia than other breeds of dog. There are many factors involved in the development of perineal hernias. These factors include prostrate disease, chronic constipation, breed disposition, hormonal imbalance and pelvic muscle weakness. The symptoms include straining to defecate, constipation and painful defecation. If the bladder, the prostrate gland or both are displaced into the hernia, then a urinary obstruction may develop. There may be noticeable swelling at the side of the anus and below. It is possible for hernias to occur on both sides of the anus. However, it is estimated that in two thirds of cases, the hernia is on one side and in around eighty per cent of these it is on the right. The veterinarian will perform a rectal examination to diagnose perineal hernia and identify which organs are involved.
It is rare for perineal hernia to develop into an emergency unless the animal is unable to urinate. If this happens, a catheter will be inserted into the bladder, or the urine may be removed with a needle. The veterinarian may attempt to surgically correct the hernia. It is recommended to neuter an affected dog which will reduce the risk of a recurrence. Perineal hernia recur in up to half of the affected dogs. There can be complications following surgery such as infection, nerve damage, anal problems or rectal problems.