Anal Gland Impaction, Abscess and Disease

By: Dr. Roy Kraemer |
DVM, Bulldog Specialist Veterinarian

Subject: Seeking Relief for Buster’s Scooting Woes đŸŸđŸ˜Ÿ #BulldogHealth #scooting

Dr. Kraemer, I’ve noticed a concerning issue with Buster, he has been exhibiting some discomfort around his rear end, scooting more than usual and occasionally licking at his hindquarters. Recently, I detected a distinct odor, and upon closer inspection, I think there might be swelling or tenderness around his buttocks.

Warm regards, Jasmine T. & Buster đŸ¶đŸ’– #BulldogMom #itchyscoot

Anal Glands Problems include:

  • Impaction
  • Infection and Abscess
  • Rapture
  • Tumor

Bulldog Anal Gland 5 x MUST KNOW

  1. The glands are embedded on the two sides of the rectum (anus).
  2. Obstructed anal ducts lead to infected abscesses that can rupture.
  3. Anal gland disease often presents as bloody, smelly, purulent, secretions, and butt scooting.
  4. Treatment includes expressing (emptying) the glands, medication, bully therapeutics, and, rarely, surgery.
  5. Prevention includes Dr. Kraemer’s Anal Gland V4B therapeutics.

The owners of this bulldog community prefer prevention over RX

Bulldog Anal Gland infection, itch, impaction and abscess: Ultimate Bundle for prevention, treat and care

Anal Gland ANATOMY

Your bulldog anal glands are embedded in the anus muscles, thus not readily visible.

Each one of the pairs has its own glandular sac and attached ducts that normally empty into the rectum during defecation.

Anal glands are notorious for their oily, pasty, grey-colored residue that permeates with a pungent, unpleasant odor.

Anal Glands Function:

The current medical purpose of these glands is not clear. Still, it’s speculated that during pre-domestication times they served to mark territory and as identification by scent, which might explain why dogs sniff that area.


Think of anal glands like a bully business card. The unique scent they produce acts as a calling card, marking territory and announcing a dog’s presence to passing dogs. This way, they could

  • claim their turf
  • navigate their social hierarchy
  • even find potential mates

Bulldog Anal Gland ID CARD:

Beyond territory, the distinct scent offered another benefit: a doggy ID tag. By sniffing each other’s rear ends, dogs could gather valuable information about one another, like:

  • age
  • sex
  • and even health status.

The anal glands likely play a vital role in their social interactions.

While pre- and early domestication are gone, as are many of the functions they served, they are still there and, at times, can cause problems.

Anal gland problems occur when their normal drainage is impaired.

On those occasions, they become swollen, impacted, infected, abscessed, and diseased.

Anal Glands Disease in Bulldogs PRESENTATION: 

  • SCOOTING: Dragging the back end on the floor
  • BITING & ITCHING: trying to bite the back end
  • REDNESS: Redness of the perianal area due to self-trauma and inflammation
  • PAIN: Crying in pain, bite their hind end
  • DEPRESSION: Stop eating; act irritable

 Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Anal Gland DISEASE TYPE

  1. IMPACTION: the most common bulldog anal gland problem is impaction.
    • bump
    • itchy
    • scooting
  2. INFLAMED (Sacculitis): a complicated form of impaction
    • redness
    • swelling
    • pain
  3. ABSCESS: an infected, inflamed anal gland that is an abscess
    • major swell
    • very painful
    • bright red to raw
    • often rupture (open wound)
    • bloody and discharge
  4. TUMOR: On rare occasions, the sac can become cancerous. The most common anal gland tumor is adenocarcinoma.
    1. Mostly older dogs
    2. If sizeable, it could impede defection
    3. Bleeds

Bulldog Anal Gland IMPACTION

Bulldog anal gland impaction is the most common anal gland problem seen by the veterinary team.

An experienced team member can manually express the bulldog’s impacted anal glands and relieve the impaction.

Dr. Kraemer’s Bulldog Anal Gland Disease RULE OF THUMB:

Expressing anal glands should be done rectally.


When performed rectally, a veterinary team member can assess whether the gland is full, empty, and expressible. If recently expressed, we can confirm that the gland is indeed empty.


When conducted externally (non-rectally), as commonly performed by most groomers, it becomes challenging to ascertain whether the glands are empty or full. It is not uncommon for a groomer to mistakenly assert that the glands are in good condition merely because nothing was expelled during the expression process, when, in fact, they might be impacted.

Furthermore, external expression does not guarantee complete evacuation of the glands.

Bulldog Anal Glands Disease PREVENTIVE CARE:

Prevention is preferred over treatment, it is less painful, safer, and cheaper.

Bulldog Weight:

Obesity could be related to chronic anal gland problems; weight loss might help.

obese overweight english bulldog

Bulldog Therapeutic Diets:

A diet that combines high-fiber elements may contribute to more robust, more frequent, and complete bowel movements, potentially serving as a “natural” method for expressing anal glands.

Bulldog Therapeutic Anal Gland Supplements:

Bulldog Comfort and Pain Less Therapeutic 

Bulldog Botanical Fiber Anal Gland Therapeutic 

Eng Bulldog gentle move anal gland care therapeutic supplement handout

Botanical natural fibers can help relieve the gland and prevent

  • Anal gland impaction
  • Anal gland abscess
  • Lower-bowl diseases that are responsive to fiber
  • Bulldog colitis

Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Bully Gentle Move & Anal Gland Care

Members of this community prefer prevention over RX

Anal Gland Disease in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs preventive chews

Dr. Kraemer’s “Gentle Move & Anal Gland Care” are palatable chews that are easy to administer as treats.

Anal Gland Impaction SELF-CARE:

While most bulldog and French bulldog owners choose to have their dogs’ glands expressed by an experienced veterinary team member, for the adventurous bulldog owner seeking “fame & glory,” attempting it at home is an option.

  1. GLOVE: Place a disposable glove on your hand; anal gland residue is not pleasant.
  2. KY JELLY: Place a lubricant on the fingers if attempting to express rectally.
  3. TEAMWORK: Most times, you will need someone to hold your dog and keep her or him upright.
  4. DIGIT:
    • Insert one-third of your thumb (for right anal gland) or index finger (for left AG) into your dog’s rectum fingernail deep
    • Use your respective thumb or index finger and press the outer wall.
    • Move the rectal finger up and down between 4-5 o’clock (rt) or 7-8 o’clock (left) and try to locate a pea to grape size bump.
  5. SQUEEZE: Try and squeeze it; you should feel anal gland contents coming out.
  6. INSPECT: Check your rectal finger for residue and inspect it for abnormalities and blood.
  7. WIPE: Wipe the area with a
  8. FREQUENCY: Each bulldog’s needs are different; start once monthly, and if empty, you can extend it.

Bully skinfold Wipe & Lotion Bundle wellness

 Bulldog Anal Gland Impaction MEDICAL CARE:

I recommend that an experienced veterinary team member express the anal glands and do so rectally.

Bulldog Anal Gland Cleaning With SEDATION

In some cases, sedation might be required, for the reasons:

  • ABSCESS: Repair ruptured anal gland abscess
  • PAIN: too painful to be expressed awake
  • MEDICATE: Flush and medically pack the duct and gland
  • FNA: Fine needle aspirate for cytology for suspected tumor.

oxygen pre anesthesia for bulldogs

Bulldog Anal Gland RX:

  • ANTIBIOTICS: for abscesses or infected glands
  • PAIN RELIEF: such as NSAIDs and Gabapentin
  • ANTI-INFLAMMATORY: such as cortisone and NSAIDs

Bulldog Anal Gland SUPPLEMENTS:


  • Bully Comfort and Ache Relief Chews


Natural  anti-inflammatories


Natural botanical fibers

  • Bully Gentle Move & Anal Gland Health Chews


Good hygiene of the tail, perianal and anal is critical


General skin health especially around the annual and tail can help prevent itching and disease in the area.

For Anal Gland Affordable Bundles, click HERE

Members of this community prefer prevention over RX

Bulldog and French Bulldog Anal Gland SURGERY:

At times, surgical removal of the anal gland surgical recommended (sacculectomy).

Reasons for this could be:

  • Chronic recurrent anal gland infection 
  • Tumor of the Anal Glands

close-up of the abscessed infected anal gland and sac after it was surgically removed

Bulldog Anal Gland Disease TIPS & WARNINGS

In summary, Dr. Kraemer offers a short list of some of the most important anal gland tips and warnings.


Scooting, biting, and itching of your bulldog’s back end is often an anal gland disease but keep in mind that it also can be due to:


The anal gland odor is often described as a “Yeasty or Fishy Smell”.

A severe bulldog skin fold dermatitis can have a similar smell; thus, examine your bully’s tail folds.

Both should be wiped with Dr. Kraemer’s bully V4B antiseptic wipe.


Familiarize yourself with your bulldog’s back end (tail, rectum, perianal area, vaginal folds) and adhere to my “Zen & Bulldog Maintenance” preventive program that includes

  • WIPE: Regular wiping with bully antiseptic wipes
  • EXPRESS: Manual digital rectal emptying of the glands
  • PREVENT: Providing natural ache relief, anti-inflammatory, and anal gland-emptying supplements.


If you suspect an anal gland problem, see your vet before it turns into a bigger problem.


Expressing anal glands in bulldogs should be done rectally; when done from the outside, one cannot tell if they are empty.

When done rectally, the team member can feel if the gland is full or empty and if it is expressible.


Expressing anal glands can be painful; at times, mild sedation is required.


Refrain from routinely expressing anal glands unless deemed necessary and medically indicated.

While groomers or hospital staff may suggest or be requested by pet owners to conduct preemptive anal gland checks, it is generally advised to avoid expressing the glands if your bulldog shows no signs of discomfort or has no history of anal gland disease.

While neglecting anal gland issues can cause pain and discomfort for your bulldog, the other extreme – frequent and unnecessary emptying – can also be detrimental. Overzealous expression can irritate the glands, increasing the risk of inflammation, infection, and even impaction (a hardened, painful blockage).

Remember, preventive care includes,

  • weight management,
  • quality diet
  • bully therapeutic supplements
  • skincare
  • allergy care
  • tail folds care

Prevention does not require frequent anal gland expression.  Frequent and unnecessary expression can irritate the glands, causing inflammation, infection, and even impaction.

Healthy anal glands typically are emptied with regular, healthy bowel movements.


Anal gland problems can compound bully tail fold dermatitis in bulldogs and French bulldogs suffering from tight, deep-pocketed, or corkscrew tails.

This might happen due to anal gland debris trapped in the fold and self-trauma due to itching and scooting.

Bulldog severe corkscrew tail skin fold dermatitis


Expressing anal glands can be painful; thus, at times, mild sedation is required. Sedation and anesthesia in bulldogs are a high risk, please read Dr. Kraemer’s warning on this subject HERE


Anal sac surgical removal should be reserved for tumors and severe chronic cases.

It should only be done by a surgeon familiar with the breed and experience with the surgery

There are some potential risks, such as:

  1. ANESTHESIA: As for any surgical procedure
  2. INCONTINENCE: The anal glands are embedded near the anal sphincter. Scarring or injury to the nerves and muscles could lead to some degree of fecal incontinence.
  3. DRAINING TRACT: If the surgeon fails to remove all the glandular tissue or an infection of the surgical site occurs, an abscess with a draining tract will form, forcing a revision (cleanup) of the original surgery.

Anal Gland Disease in Bulldog DR. KRAEMER’S FINAL ADVICE

Remember, the goal is to keep your bulldog’s anal glands healthy and functioning normally.

Prevention is always preferred over medication, medical treatment, and surgery


  • Exercise
  • Stress-free environment
  • A balanced, nutritious diet
  • Lean body weight
  • Proper hydration
  • A sufficient fiber supplement
  • Proper anal and perianal hygiene
  • Proper tailfold hygiene

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The information provided on this platform is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian regarding any medical condition. It's important to always consider professional medical advice promptly and not to delay seeking it based on information you've read on this platform. Any reliance on the information provided here is entirely at your discretion.

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