Bottom Problems



Pets scoot by dragging their bottoms along the ground, preferably grass or carpet. Although irritation from worms causes some pets to scoot there are other, more common causes, including:


Rectal And Anal Obstructions

The most common cause of rectal obstruction in male dogs is an enlarged prostate gland. Other causes include the variety of reasons for constipation but also interference from perineal hernias. Stool builds up in the bulging hernia, diverting the course of the rectum to the left or right and dilating it, creating the obstruction. Previous rectal damage may cause a tight band of tissue (stricture) to develop.

An internal examination of the region usually is diagnostic although endoscopic examination (proctoscopy) or x-rays may be necessary. The objective of treatment is to remove the obstruction. Dogss with enlarged prostates are given drugs to shrink the prostate or, preferably, neutered. Hernias are surgically repaired and because the development of a perineal hernia is sex-hormone-related, neutering is usually carried out at the same time. Surgical correction of corkscrew tails is sometimes necessary in breeds such as Bulldogs.

Rectal Prolapse

Forceful straining may cause the rectum to protrude from the anus. This is most common in puppies and kittens under four months and small pets with associated severe diarrhea. It may also be caused by straining from constipation, intestinal blockage, bladder obstruction or giving birth. If only the lining of the rectum (mucosa) prolapses there is a swollen, doughnut-shaped red ring of protruding tissue. Some people mistake this tissue for hemorrhoids. In a complete prolapse a small sausage-shaped extension of red tissue extends from the anus.

A mucosal prolapse is less severe than a complete prolapse. The underlying cause is removed. We will apply a local anaesthetic and lubricant to the mucosa and provide your pet with a low-reside diet. Complete prolapse requires our urgent attention. Keep the prolapse moist with water-soluble jelly (K-Y jelly). We will insert a temporary purse-string suture to hold the rectum back in its normal position. Further surgery is often necessary.

Stool Stuck On Anus

Some pets, Yorkshire Terriers and Persian cats in particular, suffer from passed stool sticking to the long hair around the anus. This causes painful contact irritation and inflammation to the anal region. The pet acts as if it is constipated, scooting, failing to find a comfortable position, sometimes whining.

Carefully clip the matted hair and moist faeces from the region. We will apply a topical antibiotic / anti-inflammatory cream or ointment and cut away remaining hair to reduce the likelihood of recurrence. We will also treat underlying causes of loose or soft stools.

Perianal Skin Disease

Repeated bouts of diarrhea, especially in puppies and kittens, lead to inflammation of the anus and skin around the anus. So too does dragging the bottom (scooting) on rough surfaces and irritation from tapeworm segments. Skin allergy may also manifest itself in this region.

Eliminating the cause of irritation usually results in a spontaneous improvement to this condition. Topical antibiotic / anti-inflammatory lotion may be needed.

Anal Sac Disease - Impaction / Infection / Abscess

The anal sacs are part of a pet's territory marking apparatus. Each time a pet passes a stool it anoints it with a few drops of anal sac substance. Other dogs or cats come along and sniff this material. It’s like reading the daily news. Anal sac problems are very common in dogs, less so in cats. While veterinary schools report an incidence of 12 percent in the general pet population, we see a higher incidence of anal sac problems, especially in breeds such as Dachshunds, Spaniels and Retrievers. The most common sign of anal sac problems is increased licking or dragging along the ground, called "scooting". Some pets with anal sac problems simply jump up from resting position as if they have had a fright or felt a sudden pain. Cats usually lick excessively.

Uncomplicated blocked anal sacs is diagnosed by squeezing on the sacs to feel if they are full. They are emptied by either external or internal pressure.

Anal sac infection (anal sacculitis) causes a painful swelling on the affected side, to the left or right of the anus. Usually only one side is affected. Gently squeezing the sac produces repellent purulent yellow, green or blood-tinged material. A bacterial culture and sensitivity is usually undertaken. Infection is treated by flushing the anal sac, with the pet deeply sedated or anaesthetized.

If the anal sac canal, from the sac itself to the mucosal lining just inside the anus, is blocked, the sac swells and bursts through the skin on either side of the anus, producing a draining abscess. The painful swelling is initially red and becomes purple just before rupturing. Abscess rupture reduces pain. If an abscess has not already ruptured it is lanced under general anaesthesia. The abscess and sac are flushed with antiseptic or antibiotic. Oral antibiotics and pain control medication are also given. In rare circumstances surgical removal of the anal sacs is necessary.

How To Empty Blocked Anal Sacs

Some pets need their anal sacs emptied frequently, as often as monthly. This can be done at home if you are willing and your pet is not overweight. Fat around the bum makes manual emptying of the anal sacs more difficult.

  1. Put on disposable latex or plastic gloves and have a pet treat available.
  2. Raise your pet's tail to flagpole position. This causes the anus, and the anal sacs, to protrude. 3. Place your fingers on either side of the anus, at four and eight o'clock on your pet's anal clock. You will feel something like a single grape if your pet's anal sacs are full.
  3. Gently but firmly squeeze with your thumb and forefinger, milking upwards and outwards. Your fingers will be at three and nine o'clock when they complete their squeezing action.
  4. The anal sac secretions are discharged onto your glove and drip on the ground. Once you have perfected this technique, place cotton wool over the anus to absorb this malodorous watery-brown substance.
  5. Immediately give your pet a food treat for allowing you to do something so intimidating. If the anal sacs are blocked or the substance is overwhelmingly smelly, yellow, green or blood-tinged, contact us.
  6. Clean the anal region with damp tissue.
  7. Only empty the anal sacs if they need emptying.

Perianal Tumours - Perianal Adenoma In Dogs

These are very common benign tumours seen in older male dogs. They are also called "circumanal gland tumours" and "hepatoid cell adenomas". Cocker spaniels and beagles have a higher incidence than some other breeds. In rare circumstances a pet develops a malignant form, a perianal adenocarcinoma. These growths are usually first seen on routine annual examination. If a tumour has already ruptured a pet licks at the bleeding open wound. Other dogs take a greater than normal interest in the affected dog's bottom. Perianal adenomas occur anywhere in the tissue surrounding the anus.

Because these tumours usually need male hormone (testosterone) to grow, neutering at the same time that local tumours are removed is overwhelmingly the most effective treatment. Medical management is useful when surgery is not possible.

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