Cat Anal Glands: the problems, signs and treatment! – Cat Health Vet Advice

please can you tell me about anal gland problems in cats why do they develop them and what can we do to treat them that's today's question so this question was sent in by Li who's had cats for for a long long time but recently their nine-year-old cats has had to have anal gland surgery because of an infection and then she needs a regular checkup every couple of months and then just the other day that anal glands were full again so what's going on here well we'll start off by discussing what anal glands are so the anal glands or anal sacs actually contain really strong smelling material the empties through ducts at around the 3 and 9 o'clock position around the anus so they empty when it difficult and that material could have coached that stool and has the effect of marking a cat's territory and communicating with other cats in the area now it really in cats it's not so much of a problem compared to dogs anal gland problems are pretty uncommon in cats although clearly they do happen and in the majority of cases it's actually normally due to soft stools so if the stores aren't fully formed if they're not a normal bulky stall then that's not going to empty or help the anal glands to empty when they go to the toilet and that can be for a number of reasons so that soft stool can be because of diet it can be due to an inflammatory bowel disease due to parasitic disease infections and that just prevents that normal expression which then least impaction of the anal glands and I'll come on to that in a little bit so other things that can can cause problems with and stop the anal glands from emptying would be inflammation in the anal area so that can effectively block those ducts and again stop those anal sacs from emptying and then I do wonder sometimes about anatomical variation so if the ducts are actually not normally kind of if they're normally they're fairly straight and wide if they're too narrow or if they're twisted and that can be because breed or individual variation then that will help that will just reduce the emptying of the anal glands as well now I think that's something that dogs definitely get where the cats get it as well I'm not so sure it's kind of a little bit of speculation but I do wonder if that plays a role in a cat who's otherwise healthy otherwise well producing a normal bulky stall I wonder if there are some anatomical could have problems there and then finally you can get massive within an anal gland as well so they're really rare in cats they're not very common in dogs but they're really rare in cats although they do happen it's something called and adenocarcinoma but the bottom line is that it's a really nasty malignant mass we need to get onto that quickly and we need to remove that quickly but that can also cause anal gland problems so that's the cause what happens is the glands become full up they become impacted that material then becomes infected and it bursts out into the surrounding tissue which is really really painful signs of that starting to develop would be scooting I'm certainly dogs they scoot that rub their bottom along the ground quite a lot cats not so much they will often more be chewing or licking at their back end they might also be painful when handled or when you're petting them and getting towards their back they might becoming painful they can also be grumpy and unsettled so cats so great at trying to avoid sources of pain and they will change their behavior so if they think that you're gonna hurt them they're going to get pretty grumpy with you so that's something that you might notice as well and then how do we go about treating anal gland problems in cats well to start with if there is a repeat problem then we can express them on a regular basis that's not really treating and preventing that's not really preventing the problem but it's it's treating it before it's developing a painful abscess we can give diet changes if we've got loose stools so that could be switching to a hypoallergenic diet in the case of inflammatory bowel disease we can increase the fiber in the diet that could be adding something like pumpkin or Metamucil to the diet with any kind of diet change or adding anything to the diet you should discuss that with your vet because that won't be desirable in some cases and in some cases it might be detrimental to your cat's health also if we're trying to get to the bottom of why a cat has got loose stools we might need to do some laboratory tests so culture and looking under the microscope that kind of thing and then another consideration is actually surgical removal so for a cat who's having repeated anal gland problems there we can actually remove them now that obviously will eliminate that risk and that problem kind of for the for the for the rest of their life there is a low risk of a cat developing fecal incontinence after having their anal glands removed it's a very low risk but it's definitely something to Sidda but really in the majority of cases we can manage them with dietary changes trying to find the underlying cause and then regular expression for those that still have problems with their anal glands filling up you've been watching the dr. Alex answers video podcast remember to subscribe and head over to dr. Alex for any leaks downloads and get your question answered

1 Comment

  1. I need advice!!
    So my 1 year old boy cat has had diarreah for 2 weeks, I gave him some canned pumpkin yesterday, and now his butt is leaking and his anus looks red and swollen.
    He isnt acting inordinate but it worries me that it may become worse and I unfortunately dont have vet money 😢 2 weeks ago we bought cat food that had dog food mixed in it.

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