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Dog has swollen, ruptured anal glands

My dog usually has his anal glands expressed during his regular grooming service. His anal glands became swollen and ruptured when pet grooming services were suspended during the circuit breaker. I took him to a vet instead. I was told most dogs suffer from anal gland impactions. Are there ways to prevent swelling in anal glands for situations where pet owners are unable to consult a groomer?

Khong Kiong Seng

Anal sac disease is a common condition in dogs.

The anal sac secretions contain chemicals that are used by the animal to mark territory, and the secretions are usually squeezed out of the anal sac during normal bowel movement. This provides a unique scent to the faeces of individual animals.

Anal sac impaction occurs when the anal sacs fail to empty normally, leading to an accumulation of the secretion which may lead to abscess formation, rupture and/or infection.

This is likely what happened with your dog. There are a number of underlying factors that may contribute to anal sac impaction, including hypersecretion, inflammation of the anal sac or anal sac cancers.

Visit your vet early to rule out any underlying conditions, especially if you suspect impacted anal glands. A ruptured abscess is very painful for the animal and considered a veterinary emergency.

Managing your pet’s weight well and ensuring a complete and balanced diet with enough fibre is important. This may improve the quality of bowel movement to facilitate regular emptying of the anal sac.

There is no need for routine manual expression of anal glands by owners or groomers if a dog’s anal sac can be expressed naturally.

Terrier’s urination in bed a cause for concern

  • Fun Fact

  • Did you know you can tell a lot about how a guinea pig feels through its actions?

    “Popcorning” is a term used to describe sudden, apparently crazy leaps in the air that guinea pigs are fond of. These actions resemble corn kernels popping in a hot pot. There is nothing to fear when that happens because it is just a sign your guinea pig is feeling happy, excited or playful.

    Popcorning is observed more frequently in younger guinea pigs, but adults still “jump for joy” occasionally.

My toilet-trained Jack Russell terrier is very mischievous and active, and regularly urinates in her own bed, especially when it has been freshly washed and prepared for her. She is 15 years old and has not been neutered. She also urinates at the designated area where she has been trained to use.

Kenneth Lim

Did your dog start urinating in her own bed recently or has she done so since she was a puppy?

Does it happen accidentally, such as a small amount when your pet is asleep, or is it intentional?

These are important questions to answer as the likely causes are different in each case. It is generally not normal for a dog to urinate in her own bed.

Intentional urination on her own bed may suggest an underlying behavioural cause, as dogs may urinate on things to mark their territory. This is more common in males than females.

Do you have other dogs or pets in the home? Has something in the home changed recently which may have caused some anxiety?

Rectifying these potential sources of stress may alleviate this unwanted behaviour.

There are a number of underlying medical conditions which may lead to the urination issues, including urinary tract infections and stones, diabetes, kidney and incontinence issues.

As pets age, regular veterinary checks will help detect medical conditions early.

Toy poodle’s left hind leg seems problematic

In the past two months, I have seen my 11-month-old toy poodle lifting his left hind leg as if he was limping. He lifts it for around 10 seconds each time. I notice that he does so whenever he runs and hits an object or jumps down from the bed or sofa. There are no cries of pain. Could it be cramps or muscle strain like those experienced by humans? I thought he sprained or fractured something, but he is still able to run and jump normally. When I touch his leg, there are no signs of injury. Does he need an X-ray?

Simon Chan

Based on your description, your pet is experiencing some intermittent and mild lameness of the left hind limb.

Limping or lameness can develop due to an injury or debilitation in one or more parts of your pet’s limbs, including bones, nerves, tendons and ligaments.

Unfortunately, unlike humans, pets are unable to say exactly where it hurts.

Vets will try to identify the location of pain or injury with a thorough physical examination and using imaging tools such as X-rays to visualise the bones and surrounding structures.

A neurological examination may also be conducted to ensure that the lifting of the hind leg is not brought about by a form of nerve damage causing involuntary lifting.

Muscle strains, sprains and cramps are also possible causes of the intermittent mild lameness, but it is hard to say without further diagnosis.

Visit your vet to rule out other conditions.

Providing a video of the lameness and documenting when the lameness arises will be extremely useful in aiding your vet in the diagnosis.

E-Pets’ Day Out

E-Pets’ Day Out is back on Aug 22, 3pm, on the AnimalBuzzSG Facebook page. Dog owners share their experiences adopting from an animal shelter in a live-stream session. Children can pick up basic pet training tips in the Petzmania segment.

Write in

Have a query about your pet? E-mail it with clear, high-resolution pictures of at least 1MB, if any, and your full name to [email protected] We reserve the right to edit and reject questions.


• Answers by Dr Teo Boon Han, a veterinarian in the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) under the National Parks Board (NParks). He graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in Britain and is an adjunct lecturer in veterinary programmes at institutes of higher learning in Singapore.