Does your cat have anal gland problems? This is the best way to prevent it

They are the size of a pea and can also cause big problems for cats: the anal glands. The reason: “Anal sacs can become clogged and inflamed,” explains veterinarian Silke Burda in her thesis. “This disease, while not life-threatening, can lead to severe impairment of the general condition with painful symptoms and typical (‘sledding’) behavior.”

But where are the anal glands actually located? “They are present in cats at the 8 and 4 o’clock positions next to the anus,” explains Julie Schell of Bow Bottom Animal Hospital in Alberta, Canada. The glands “are lined with cells that produce brown or gray-brown glandular secretions that have a very intense odor.”

Anal glands for individual scent

And that smell can be felt in the litter box. Why: If the cat defecates, the glands are pushed out by the pressure of the solid intestinal contents and then emptied. “Each cat’s smell is unique. It helps them recognize each other, ”says Schell.

Photo: (Simbolofoto)

But emptying the scent glands doesn’t always work. There are several reasons for this. For example, diarrhea: the stool is not firm enough to empty the glands. Constipation can also be a trigger. If cats defecate too infrequently, the glands can become inflamed. Or the secretion does not drain: then it thickens and eventually clogs the anal gland.

“When the anal tubes are blocked by inflammation, infection, cancerous growth, or hair or fecal plugs, the attached sac continues to fill,” Schell explains. “Painful abscesses and ruptures can eventually occur. This can then lead to a secondary infection and even more severe pain ”. Furthermore, germs can also multiply in the glands. This can also lead to severe inflammation of the anal glands.

Typical symptoms of inflammation

Therefore, cat owners should watch their cats closely. There are several symptoms of anal gland inflammation. Sledding is a classic thing, which many affected dogs do too. The velvet paw then slides across the floor with the bottom. Additional signs can be:

  • Redness around the anus
  • itch
  • Intense sighting of the aftershock
  • the cat is sensitive to touches in this area
  • pain when passing stool
  • the cat does not eat
  • Swelling to the right and left of the anus
  • Fever
  • the cat “stinks”

If the inflammation is not treated, a fistula can form around the anus. A foul-smelling yellow-brown discharge comes out of the opening of the fistula.

The vet massages the anal glands

In the event of an inflammation of the anus, cat owners should take their velvet paw to the vet as soon as possible. There the anal glands are carefully massaged. As this is very painful for the cat, a short anesthetic is administered.

The drained gland is washed and treated with an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory drug. If an abscess and fistula have formed, it is necessary to repeat the washing several times.

Cat owners can definitely prevent inflammation of the anal glands. “Normal anal sacs in cats should be about the size of a lentil or a grain of rice and be pliable and soft when palpated,” says veterinarian Schell. To avoid this, it is important to keep the cat’s coat free from tangles, feces and debris, especially in the anal area. Some long-haired cats may require professional grooming and shaving of their anal area to allow for proper drainage of the anal channels.

Cat at the vet
Photo: Envato Elements

Obesity promotes problems with the glands

Also, cats should be fed healthily and not be overweight. “Obese cats have a higher fat / muscle ratio. Often, the excess fat surrounding the anal sacs prevents the anal sacs from contracting normally to allow for drainage, “Schell said. Her tip: Give cats a teaspoon of canned (sugar-free!) Pumpkin twice a day. . “It adds to their diet antioxidants and it also helps to optimize the firmness of the stool, “says the vet.

Important note

Our guides are no substitute for your veterinarian’s veterinary advice. They are for informational purposes only and are intended to provide an overview of diseases, injuries and their treatment. If your pet exhibits symptoms that indicate injury, illness, or discomfort, you should definitely visit a vet’s office or veterinary clinic.

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