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The Trouble with Anal Glands

One of the most common problems small animal vets see in dogs, almost daily, is anal gland trouble. Although cats have anal glands too, they rarely cause trouble.

All dogs have two anal glands (or anal sacs) situated just inside the rectum, one on each side. The cells which line the glands produce a foul-smelling substance which dogs use as a territory- marking device. When the dog passes faeces, the anal glands get squeezed and the scent is deposited as well. The normal anal gland is about the size of a pea in a small dog or a grape in a larger dog, depending how full it is. The anal gland secretion travels down a short tube or duct to enter the rectum. It can be liquid or more like a paste in texture.

When everything is working properly, the anal glands empty naturally and cause no trouble. Unfortunately it is quite common for the glands to become over-full or for the duct to become blocked, and then they cause discomfort. When they do not empty naturally, they are described as impacted and the condition is called anal gland saculitis. The dog will then try to lick at the area or will “scoot” their bottom along the ground in an attempt to relieve the irritation. This may well make things worse and allow infection to enter, leading to an abscess. If things get this bad, the main sign will be pain, or a blood-stained discharge if it bursts.

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Cat Pelvis Operation – Vet Orthopaedics

Joe Inglis BVSc MRCVS is the vet for the One Show, This Morning and BBC Breakfast. He runs his own line of natural pet food called Pet’s Kitchen

Cats lead dangerous lives, dodging traffic, fighting over territory and being chased by dogs, so it is not surprising that we vets spend a reasonable proportion of our working lives patching up the results of their adventures. Whether it’s repairing serious damage caused by road traffic accidents, or patching up less severe injuries from bite wounds, cats that have been in the wars certainly keep us vets busy everyday of the week.

Most of the time these injuries are not too severe – cat bites, and bruises and strains from over-energetic leaping and climbing usually heal well and require nothing much more than antibiotics and painkillers to help the cat recover. Sometimes, however, cats are less fortunate and that is when things get much more serious and the outcomes can be less positive. Road traffic accidents are by far and away the main cause of these more serious injuries, and repairing the damage that a tonne of car can do to 5 kilos of fragile cat can be a very involved and difficult process.

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The nightmare before Christmas…

By Cat Henstridge BVSc MRCVS, The Pet Street Vet
Christmas is one of my favourite times of year, all those presents and decorations, not to mention the yummy food! However, there are problems we see commonly with pets around the holiday season that are directly connected with the festivities and this blog is about recognising and helping to prevent them.
It is tempting, when we are tucking into a fabulous spread for Christmas lunch, to share this with our pets. However, their bodies are less able to cope with unusually rich food than us and nobody wants to be clearing up vomit and diarrhoea on Christmas day.

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Beware of Slugs and Snails and Angiostrongylus (lungworm)

To a gardener, slugs and snails can be a nuisance because they eat your plants, but to dogs they can pose a serious health risk because they act as an intermediate host for one of the most serious types of internal worms.

The worm called Angiostrongylus Vasorum is sometimes referred to as lungworm or heartworm (although other types of lungworm and heartworm also exist). It affects dogs and foxes, and in the last few years it seems to have spread across most of Northern Europe including the U.K. I have seen two cases in the south-west of England in the last year. I am pleased to say that both dogs survived but they were both very ill for a time.

The life cycle of this parasite takes place partly inside the dog (the host) and partly inside the snail or slug (the intermediate host). An infected dog or fox will have adult worms in the lungs and blood vessels, which produce eggs. These worm eggs are coughed up and swallowed by the dog, and then passed out in the faeces. They are then eaten by the slug or snail, which completes the cycle of infestation when eaten by another dog.

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