Diagnosis of Anal Sac Inflammation
Anal sac problems in dogs are diagnosed by examining the perineal area. Your veterinarian will wear disposable gloves and massage your dog's anal sacs to determine whether they are soft and easily compressed or swollen and difficult to compress. As anal sac material is expressed, it is evaluated for color and consistency. Normal secretions are thin and a pale yellow-brown. Dry secretions from impacted anal sacs are thick and pasty brown. If the sac is infected with bacteria, secretions become darker brown with yellow or green-yellow pus. Chronic infections and abscesses cause red-brown secretions. Infected anal sac secretions have a foul odor.
If anal sac material is abnormal, your veterinarian will send it to a laboratory to determine what is causing the infection. Among the common causes are bacteria, such as E. coli, clostridium, proteus, and staphylococcus, yeast (candida), and
Diagnosing Masses (Tumors) in Your Dog's Perineal Area
Several different cancers can form masses (tumors) in your dog's perineal area. Tumors develop in male and female dogs, especially in Beagles, English Cocker Spaniels, English Bulldogs, Springer Spaniels, Dachshunds, Alaskan Malamutes, German Shepherds, and Samoyeds.
Apocrine (sebaceous) gland tumors (also called perianal adenomas) are common in male dogs because they are stimulated, in part, by testosterone. These tumors may spread through the pelvic area to the lymph nodes. A different type of cancer, an anal sac tumor (anal sac apocrine gland adenocarcinoma), occurs in females and may also infiltrate and spread through the area.
Tests Used to Diagnose Masses in Your Dog's Perineal Area
If your dog has a mass (tumor) in the perineal area, your veterinarian will insert a needle and remove cells that can be sent for laboratory identification. X-rays and ultrasound exams help determine the extent of your dog's problem and whether the tumor has spread to another area (metastatic cancer). Some cancers first found in the perineal area have actually come from other areas of the body, and the laboratory tests and X-rays help find the origin of these cancer cells. Because some perineal tumors, especially anal sac tumors, increase the amount of calcium in the blood to a level that damages the kidneys, your veterinarian will include blood tests to fully evaluate your dog's health.