Submit Content

Healthy Paws: What Is That…?!

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic and winner of a 2017 Arlington Chamber of Commerce Best Business Award. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

So many pet owners have been there…

You’re sitting in your living room watching TV while snuggling with your best bud, when all the sudden you hear a startling noise. You both jump with fright, but soon realize it was just a car backfiring outside. The next thing you know, you’re overwhelmed by what smells like a garbage full of raw fish or a pair of old unwashed gym socks.

You look to your right and see your furry pal — back arched, hackles up and a guilty look on his face. What is that?! That, my friend, is the smell of anal gland secretions. (Flip to the next photo in the gallery below to see where they come from.)

Most mammals have anal glands, which secrete a scented material for varying purposes. Skunks use them to create their characteristic stench as a weapon against their predators. Opossums use them to add a scent factor to the illusion of “playing dead.”

Dogs and cats use them as a means of marking their territory and identifying each other with their own unique “perfume.” This is why most introductions between dogs start with a good sniff of the derriere.

Dogs and cats have anal sacs, little pockets that store this foul-smelling sebaceous secretion from the anal glands. The anal sacs are located just inside the anus at the 4 and 8 o’clock position and are about the size of a pea to a small marble, depending on the size of your pet.

The material in the glands is watery, beige to brown-tinged and it is meant to express naturally on a regular basis during normal defecation. Sometimes, it can also be excreted unintentionally when your pet tenses when startled.

Many pets don’t need any help expressing their anal sacs if nature is doing its job. There are several factors, however, that might impede this natural process. With all the anatomic variation among breeds of dogs and cats, some may have slightly unusual hind end anatomy.

Also, stools must be regular, formed and large enough to facilitate expression. Pets with chronic soft stools may have a harder time expressing their anal sacs naturally. Lastly, sometimes the sacs become inflamed and abnormal due to an underlying allergy.

If the anal sacs aren’t able to express, they can become impacted or infected, and this will require treatment by your veterinarian.

Symptoms to watch for that would indicate your pet is having an anal sac problem include excessive licking around the rear, brown staining of the fur around the rear, red and irritated skin around the rear, a swelling or discharge around the rear, a very continuous foul smell from the rear, or the dreaded obsessive butt-scooting (always seems to be when you have company over, too).

Unfortunately, the occasional slip when a car backfires outside your window is actually normal and one of those things we have to endure as the price for our pal’s unconditional love.

Recent Stories

As seven-year-old Jaxon Vega positions his skateboard at the top of the concrete bowl at Powhatan Springs Skate Park, he takes a deep breath. Vega steadies the back of the…

A section of Columbia Pike will be reduced to one lane in each direction starting next week. The lane closure, which is set to start Monday and stretch into January…

Clarendon’s newest lash and brow studio is hoping to open next month. A mid-September opening is likely for Deka Lash at 1041 N. Highland Street, a company spokesperson told ARLnow….

Don’t look now but Covid cases are declining in Arlington. The average daily reported case rate in the county is currently around 90, down from 184 on Memorial Day. At…

Do you struggle with anxiety, depression, stress, grief, trauma or anger? Are
you ready to make a change?

Lauren K. Nickum, LCSW, CSAC from Peaceful Mind Solutions is now taking new
clients for psychotherapy. Lauren has over 10 years of experience treating
mental health disorders and general life stress in adults and adolescents. For
more information visit
peacefulmindsolutions.com.

Submit your own Community Post here.

(This Community Post was written by Signature Theatre and underwritten by Embracing Arlington Arts.)

Signature Theatre just released single tickets for all 33rd season productions, which highlights the organization’s long-time relationship with legendary composer Stephen Sondheim. Beginning with the musical adaptation of The Color Purple and irreverent No Place to Go, the season continues with three Sondheim musicals, the DC premieres of Off-Broadway hit Which Way to the Stage and Pulitzer Prize finalist Selling Kabul, the Tony Award®-winning rock musical Passing Strange, and return of Signature’s cabaret series honoring legendary artists.

“Last November, the world lost an icon. The death of Stephen Sondheim was a blow to everyone in the theater community. Signature Theatre would not be the same without Sondheim — he IS Signature’s ‘signature.’ This season, we are honoring the legend with productions of Into the Woods, Pacific Overtures and Sweeney Todd dedicated to his memory. These shows represent the diversity and range of Sondheim,” said Signature’s Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner about the new season.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

ACFCU’s Homebuying Happy Hour

Are you ready to buy your first home, but concerned about saving for a down payment? Grab a drink and join us for 45 minutes to learn more about how you can buy your first house with 3%, 5%, or

Azure Dream Day Spa Grand Opening

Azure Dream Day Spa is hosting their Grand Opening Celebration at their beautiful new spa located at 901 N. Quincy St. on Friday, August 12 from 5-9 p.m.

All are invited to come tour the new spa and to take

×

Subscribe to our mailing list