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Feline Anal Glands

"Feline anal glands become a problem when ducts that allow liquid to be excreted become blocked. The causes a thickening of the substance and infection to form. Immediate treatment involves applying gentle pressure to the glands. To avoid the problem long term consider adding fiber to the diet and the addition of a natural supplement."

Cat anal glands are also called anal sacs. The glands are small and located to either side and just below the anal opening. When feces or pressure is placed on the glands they secret a substance with a strong odor that probably has its roots in marking territory.

Feline anal glands become problematic when the ducts become blocked, a condition called anal sacculitis. Problems can also occur if your cat's anal sacs are making too much fluid. This keeps the substance from coming out of the ducts, causing it to get thicker and possibly allow infection to form.

If the sacs are full you should be able to feel them. They are should be approximately the size of a pea.

Sometimes your cat's behavior will be mistaken for a problem with worms.

Symptoms of Feline Anal Glands

If you see your cat with the tail in the air or if your cat is dragging his or her anus across the floor, then anal gland problems are probably the cause. By dragging the anus your cat is trying to end the feeling of fluid buildup in this area.

You may also see your cat trying to groom the area more often than is usual.

Treatment of Feline Anal Glands

Any veterinary professional can teach you how to use your fingers to help apply the pressure on the glands necessary to reopen the ducts.

Steps to Express the Feline Anal Glands at Home

1. Perform this procedure in the bathtub so that you can catch any fluid and bathe your cat to remove any smelly liquid that gets on the coat. You may also want to wear latex gloves to keep your hands clean.
2. Hold up your cat's tail with one hand.
3. Using your thumb and finger on one hand, press and apply pressure to the sacs. Hold a tissue in that hand so that the fluid goes onto the tissue. The sacs will be in the 4 and 8 o'clock position around the anus.

If you see blood , puss or a black substance, then infection has probably occurred or there is the presence of a polyp or abscess (puss surrounded by tissue that can't be released). If this is the case see your veterinarian so she could prescribe antibiotics for any infection.

Also if you have trouble with this procedure, such as no liquid comes out, then visit your veterinarian.

In severe cases (abscessed anal glands), surgery may be needed to drain the glands.

Preventing Problems with Feline Anal Glands

If your cat suffers from the anal glands becoming blocked, the situation can be helped by increasing your cat's fiber intake or adding a natural remedy to your cat's diet. Remedies such as Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) have a long history of as a herbal cleanser. One popular product to research is AnalGlandz to treat infected anal glands in cats naturally.

You should also stop feeding your cat table scraps. These types of food lead to soft stools. Firm stools are needed to apply the necessary pressure to drain the sacs naturally.

References

The Well Cat Book
McGinnis, Terri

The Doctors Bood of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats
Prevention Magazine

 

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