Dogs and Cats have two Anal Glands at the opening of the anus, one located on either side. The glands are normally emptied when stools are passed, coating the faeces with a unique scent. Anal Gland Excision (Sacculectomy) is performed to either manage recurrent episodes of blockage, infection and abscess formation, or remove a cancer of the gland.
Surgery for the management of repeated blockage and infection tends to cure the patient from recurring episodes in the future.
Surgery for the management of a cancer generally benefits from further investigation for spread of the disease via the lymph nodes, with possible surgery to remove the lymph nodes or the use of anti-cancer drugs (chemotherapy).
Surgery to remove the gland is performed by an incision on either side of the anus over the gland and dissection through the muscles of the anus. The risk of complication associated with surgery are generally low, however due to the location near the anus the infection rate is higher than routine surgery and should be monitored for closely during the first 2 weeks. Some reported complications are the development of faecal incontinence due to injury of the nerves affecting the anus, fluid swelling formation due to trauma associated with surgery, and infection. Irritation to the backend and some straining to pass stools may be noted for up to 1-2 weeks following surgery, but this should resolve with time and without intervention.
The prognosis following excision of the anal glands to control repeat infection are excellent, whilst the prognosis following excision of the anal glands to control cancer are reasonable, and may be discussed further with your veterinarian.
Anal Gland Excision Discharge Form (PDF)