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Expressing Glands in Cats

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Expressing Glands in Cats

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Anal or peri anal glands are actually a way of communication between cats, since the characteristic smell that they secrete gives other cats information on the cat's identity. It is normal for cats, both male and female, to empty its contents when they defecate, thus lubricating the anus. In other situations such as when suffering from fear or stress, they also emanate this characteristic smell.

In this AnimalWised article we are going to learn about anatomy and expressing glands in cats, as it is very important that owners prevent any possible complications. Next, you'll discover how to empty anal glands in cats.

You may also be interested in: My Dog Has an Anal Gland Infection
  1. What are anal glands?
  2. Expressing glands in cats
  3. Prevention and care

What are anal glands?

These glands are situated in the anal sacs on either side of the anus (between four-five and seven-eight of a clock's hands) and communicate with the rectum through ducts.

The secretion that they accumulate should be liquid (a brown-yellowish coloring), if this isn't so, we will find ourselves in front of an impaction. When you do not take your cat to the vet quickly, the contents can form a fistula (create a new conduit by which the accumulated content is ejected) or abscesses can occur the sac, causing the cat even more pain.

The veterinarian will set up an antibiotic treatment and prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as perform curettage of the anal sacks (under low sedation) leaving it to heal. Sometimes a sacculectomy (removal of the anal sacs) is required.

There may also be benign tumors in hepathoid cells in which case it is necessary a correct differential diagnosis. Currently, there is laser therapy with satisfactory results in the treatment of sacculitis due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

Expressing Glands in Cats - What are anal glands?

Expressing glands in cats

For a completely correct expression, the first step is to go to the vet so they can teach us the exact method. We should take into account that expressing anal glands is a physiological act of the cat, so it is not suitable to force it unless they require so as it would be counterproductive.

There are cats that, due to their anatomical structure or an increase in the production of secretions are more prone to their sacs clogging and need manual help.

Step by step method for expressing glands in cats

  1. We will raise the cat's tail up with one hand and with the other we will take a gauze.
  2. Then, place the gauze just in front of your cat's anus.
  3. Identify the bags at the above location and press with your fingers inward and upward gently, slowly increasing the pressure and without hurting our cat.
  4. We have to be careful not to get stained since the liquid comes out with a lot of pressure.
  5. If necessary you will need to disinfect the area when finished.
Expressing Glands in Cats - Expressing glands in cats

Prevention and care

There are certain signs that indicate that your cat's anal glands present alterations such as impaction, sacculitis or fistulas:

  • Cat drags their bottom on the floor frequently
  • They lick their anal area
  • Bad smell
  • The posterior third is regarded and emits moans
  • You have swelling and even erosion and bruising around the year
  • Expulsion of purulent fluid through a fistula
  • Constipation due to pain

If we see any of these circumstances we must soon go to the vet due to the amount of pain these conditions cause.

Finally, we are going to talk about how you have to care for your cat to prevent diseases in the anal glands:

  • Our cat's food must be balanced, adapted to the feline species, and without adding human food scraps.
  • Their diet may be complemented with prepared commercial fiber. An adequate volume of stool causes pressure on the glands, stimulating its emptying.
  • We will make sure we keep up to date with their deworming both internal and external. Causes of primary disease such as atopy or food allergies must be correctly diagnosed and treated too.
  • We must avoid obesity and maintain your cat's proper hygiene.
Expressing Glands in Cats - Prevention and care

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Expressing Glands in Cats, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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Expressing Glands in Cats