Simply inside a cat’s anus are two small glands: the anal glands (typically known as anal sacs). When you think about your cat’s anus because the face of a clock (that is perhaps the strangest starting to any sentence I’ve ever written), the anal glands are situated on the 4 and the 8 place, and produce a foul-smelling secretion.
Initially, these glands allowed cats to mark their territory and push back predators, however they now not serve a lot goal now that cats have change into domesticated. Small quantities of anal gland secretion are launched when a cat defecates; nonetheless, cats might categorical your complete contents of those glands after they get excited or scared.
As a cat veterinarian, I can’t start to rely what number of instances I’ve been “glanded” within the examination room by a frightened or nervous cat. The room out of the blue 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.
Illnesses of the anal glands are extra frequent in canines, however they do happen in cats as nicely. Frequent anal gland issues 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. Because the gland distends, the stress inside will increase, which causes discomfort.
Cats typically show 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 usually fussing with the anal space. Often, cats will present reluctance to take a seat or to poop, and will maintain their tail in an uncommon place.
Anal gland impaction will be handled by having your veterinarian categorical the anal glands manually. This relieves the stress throughout the gland and reopens the clogged duct, which often resolves the issue. Having expressed 1000’s of anal glands over my profession, I’ve discovered learn how to do it shortly and comparatively painlessly, however all cats nonetheless hate having it completed.
When it’s an abscess
Generally, the entrapped anal gland secretion will change 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 only contained in the anus), the pus will attempt to burrow via the pores and skin across the anus. In some cases, the pus ruptures via the pores and skin and drains out by itself, which stands out as the first signal an proprietor notices.
Anal gland rupture typically ends in pores and skin injury in that space, requiring anesthesia, an intensive cleaning and surgical trimming and/or elimination 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 identified earlier than the gland ruptures, it’ll should be lanced by your veterinarian whereas the cat is sedated or below anesthesia. After the abscess is lanced, antibiotics are prescribed for a couple of days. Heat compresses to the world assist pace up the therapeutic, however this may be difficult, as most cats aren’t too eager about having a heat material utilized to their backside.
Cats with recurrent anal gland issues may profit from a high-fiber food plan, because the fiber ends in a bulkier stool, which places extra stress on
the anal glands throughout defecation, permitting the glands to be expressed extra effectively.
Chubby cats are at elevated danger for anal gland issues, so sustaining a wholesome physique weight may help cut back the incidence of all these issues. Cats who are suffering repeated impactions or abscesses might require surgical elimination of the anal glands. In my expertise, that is hardly ever needed.
Kitty bought anal gland issues?
If one thing is occurring, you’ll most likely discover this type of motion within the anal sac space:
✔ extreme licking
✔ reluctance to take a seat or poop
✔ tail held in uncommon place
✔ an abscess kinds
If you’re seeing this, it’s time to take kitty to the veterinarian to specific the anal glads and deal with the impaction.
Might it’s most cancers?
Most cancers 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 popular remedy choice for anal gland adenocarcinoma in cats is surgical elimination of the cancerous anal gland; nonetheless, these are typically aggressive tumors, and the most cancers has typically unfold to different elements of the physique by the point a analysis has been made, necessitating a poor prognosis. I really feel lucky to have by no means identified a case in my follow.