Dr. Dolittler

Tubby tabby has gland problems

 

khulyp@bellsouth.net

Q. My cat Vera has problems with her anal glands. The vet says it’s because she’s overweight, but doesn’t have remedies to offer. I’ve scoured the Internet, and everything written about this problem is for dogs. Can you help?

Dogs do get all the attention when it comes to these nasty glands, and that’s because they account for more than 90 percent of the patients who present with this disease. Luckily, the physiology and pathology are similar in both species.

Located just under the skin on either side of the anus, these glands (also called anal sacs) can cause significant discomfort when they become inflamed. When that happens, the condition is called anal sacculitis.

Symptoms include a foul-smelling discharge. The animal may also “scoot” along the ground and/or lick or bite its backside. Other pets show no symptoms save a painful swelling in the area. If unnoticed and untreated, the condition may progress to an oozing wound or abscess that requires surgical intervention.

Anal sacculitis has been linked to allergic skin disease and gastrointestinal problems, but we don’t really know what causes it. Genetics and conformation are likely factors, as it’s a disorder that’s overrepresented among small breeds of dogs. In cats, it’s most often observed in large and overweight animals.

Treatment for both species is similar: Expressing the glands on a regular basis (usually by a veterinarian or groomer). Controlling any underlying allergies or digestive issues is also recommended. Surgery to remove the glands is a last resort.

Dr. Patty Khuly has a veterinary practice in South Miami and blogs at dolittler.com. Send questions to khulyp@bellsouth.net, or Dr. Dolittler, Tropical Life, The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132.

Read more Pets stories from the Miami Herald

  • Talking Dogs: Salutes and tips for owning a canine friend

    Dog lovers had cause to rejoice the last week of August, as the 25th was National Dog Day. This "Howliday" was started in 2004 to encourage the adoption of dogs in shelters - and bring attention to the ridiculously high numbers of such dogs. If you've decided you're ready for the responsibility of owning and caring for a dog, consider finding your new companion at your local shelter or a pure breed rescue organization.

  • What a treat! Your dog might enjoy a kennel stay: study

    Many dog owners have had their vacations marred because they were so worried about how little Scruffy was faring in the boarding kennel back home.

  • Sit! Stay! Listen! Pet Life Radio is on

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -Want to know the latest trends in carpeted cat furniture? What to do about your dog's strange skin rash? If you really can train a rabbit to walk on a leash?

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category