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You See Bleeding or an Abscess on Your Dog’s Bottom… What Does It Mean?

February 11th, 2019 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

Piper, the dog, tilts her head and looks quizzically at the camera. Do her bleeding scent glands need veterinary attention?

Your dog has anal glands — specifically, anal sacs — on either side of his (or her) anus

These scent glands on your dog’s bottom are a normal part of your pup’s anatomy.

Anal glands contain fluid that’s normally expressed when your dog is excited or goes potty.

Occasionally, bacteria can get into these sacs.

The glands can become infected or even rupture.

If you see an abscess on your dog’s bottom around the anus or your dog’s scent glands are bleeding, it’s time to call a veterinarian.

Your dog needs medical attention.

Symptoms of infected or ruptured anal glands

In the early stages, you may notice:

  • Your dog is scooting on the floor.
  • Your dog is licking, biting or chewing at his bottom.

Sometimes it can be painful for your dog to go potty.

Your dog’s stool may have blood in it — or be softer than usual.

At this point, it’s likely your dog needs help getting his anal glands “expressed” (emptied). Your dog hasn’t been able to express the glands naturally.

Related article: How to tell if your dog needs his (or her) anal glands expressed

If bacteria get into your dog’s anal glands, they cause an infection.

This is when the issues start to escalate.

At this point, you may see signs of an anal gland infection or a rupture, such as:

  • Inflamed and swollen scent glands
  • An abscess on your dog’s bottom around the anal area
  • Swelling, pus and/or bleeding around your dog’s anus

Gus, an older dog, rests on the floor. He has had an abscess on his bottom.

How do veterinarians treat infected or ruptured scent glands?

If it’s possible to manually express the anal glands to get the fluid out, our veterinarians will do so.

If your pup has pus or is showing signs of an infection, you’ll get meds to help your dog heal and reduce the pain.

We’ll likely sedate your dog if:

  • The anal glands are too painful to express
  • They’re about to rupture or
  • They’ve already ruptured

This allows our veterinarians to flush and unplug the glands, clean out the pus and infected areas, and treat the trouble spots with antibacterial solution.

Again, you can expect a treatment of special meds to help your dog heal well and reduce pain.

If everything goes well, a ruptured anal gland should heal in two weeks.

Of course, each dog is unique, so it depends on your dog.

Matthew rubs his yellow labrador's neck. His dog is feeling much better after getting her bleeding scent glands treated.

Cancer of the anal gland (don’t panic, this isn’t common!)

If you’ve ever searched health articles on the internet, you know that everything is three degrees of separation from cancer.

You have a sore throat? … It may be cancer.

Your elbow hurts? … It may be cancer.

In reality, though, it’s almost never cancer, right?

So please don’t panic, the chances of cancer are low here.

But yes, there are a few instances where an inflamed anal gland could suggest cancer.

In these instances, you’re less likely to see a red, bloody, painful or pus-filled sac.

Rather, your dog is more likely to have a really large, possibly inflamed anal sac — a mass that’s formed.

Or, you may have an older dog with anal gland inflammation that has been treated and just isn’t improving.

In these instances, we’d want to rule out anal sac cancer.

If you want to be proactive and find out …

  • How often to express your dog’s anal glands
  • How to prevent anal gland issues
  • Which types of dogs tend to have more anal gland issues

Please check out: How to tell if your dog needs his (or her) anal glands expressed

Help your dog feel better

If your dog has an abscess or is bleeding on his bottom and you live near Castle Rock, Colorado, call our veterinarians at 303-688-3757 or:

Book your visit here 

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on what to do if you see bleeding or an abscess on your dog’s bottom. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call.)

© 2019, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic, All Rights Reserved

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