Anal Glands cause Butt Scooting

Is your dog a butt scooter or carpet surfer?

A dog with an itchy bottom is frequently associated with intestinal worms but there is another cause which is probably more common. Impacted or blocked anal sacs is also known as anal sacculitis.

Dogs (and cats) have a sac/gland in either side of their bottom that produces a unique smelling fluid. When they pass faeces the sac expresses that fluid and it marks their territory. Another dog may pass by that spot later, sniff the ground and know that Fido had been there before them.

Sometimes the fluid doesn’t escape and over time it can build up causing the sac to become full, tight and distended. Typically, a dog will rub their bottom on the ground, scooting. They may also try to lick their bottom or the skin nearby and may find it painful to pass faeces.

Anal sacculitis can occur secondary to skin disease like allergies but sometimes it occurs for no apparent reason. It is more common in small dogs.

A rectal examination allows the vet to physically examine the dog’s anal sacs and if they are full gentle pressure can be applied to release and empty them. Sometimes medication is required to treat the inflamed sac and any secondary infection. In some cases the affected sac can become abscessed and may require surgical drainage and flushing.

So if your dog is persistently carpet surfing or butt scooting make an appointment to have them checked at the vet. A check up and simple procedure of anal sac expression is usually all that is required to get them comfortable again.