Most pet owners are aware their pets have anal sacs, but how many of us know what their function actually is? It may not be a topic we want to think about, but understanding your pet’s anatomy and how to care for anal sacs are crucial components of pet ownership.
Anal Sacs 101
Pet anal sacs, also sometimes referred to as “anal glands,” are two small, bag-like structures located just inside the rectum. The sacs contain numerous glands that produce a strongly scented fluid, which is expressed when the animal has a bowel movement.
The purpose of the fluid is to transfer your pet’s “personal odors” onto his or her stool as a method of communicating with other animals. It may also serve to lubricate the stool.
Identifying a Problem
Because the openings that allow the anal gland fluid to seep out into the rectum are so tiny, it’s easy for problems to develop. The gland may become clogged or impacted, which can lead to infection if left untreated. Tumors may also develop in rare cases.