Tulip has chronic problems with her anal glands. The 4-year-old mixed-breed terrier produces somewhat thickened secretions that she has trouble expressing out of the glands.
Over time, the material builds up, stretching the glands and causing irritation. Tulip bites and chews at the area and scoots her hind end across the floor in an effort to relieve the irritation. Tulip has been to the groomer to have the glands expressed, but the last few appointments have brought no relief. Tulip's owner, Allison finally took the dog to the veterinarian, and the glands were properly cleaned out. Allison was advised that, due to the chronic nature of the problem, she should consider having Tulip's anal glands removed. Allison wants to know the risks.
Anal gland removal surgery is an excellent way to eliminate this problem if done properly. There are potential complications, though, and among them is the potential for fecal incontinence. This can occur if the muscle tissue in the anus is irreparably altered to the point where the anus no longer functions properly and stool can drop out as a result. This problem is usually one of poor surgical technique and should not occur when the procedure is done correctly. Make sure your veterinarian is comfortable with the surgery.