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Almost daily we receive a request for some advice. Although Boston Terrier Network and friends, only provide insight and suggestions and personal experiences. We still have a lot of readers asking for basic information. We believe there are no dumb questions



Here is an example worth sharing again.

"Advice PLEASE. I took this guy to the vet Friday for an impacted anal gland. He is on antibiotics and pain/anti-inflammatory meds. We soak it in warm water. Well, it burst anyway. What can I do for him tonight? Calling vet in morning. "

We reached out and asked our readers and friends for their experiences and suggestions.


First, for those who do not know, here are some basics on dog anatomy:

Location and function of the anal glands:

As the dog or cat is viewed from behind, anal glands (also called anal sacs) are located on each side of and slightly below the anal opening, at the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions. A tiny duct or tube leads from the gland under the skin to an opening directly beside the anus. Sometimes only one gland may be full. This could be a sign that the glands were functioning normally, but that one had become infected or impacted. Call your vet before attempting to express the sac.

All predators, whether they are canines or felines in the wild or skunks in your backyard, have anal glands. They just use them differently. Skunks discharge the secretion from these glands as a form of defense, while dogs use it primarily for territorial marking or as a form of communication. In dogs and cats, every time a stool is passed it should put enough pressure on the anal glands that some of the secretion is deposited on the surface of the stool. Other dogs and cats are then able to tell who has been in the neighborhood, just by sniffing the stools they find. Additionally, dogs and cats recognize each other by smelling each other in the general area of the anus, since each animal's anal glands produce a unique scent. Source:


Here is just a small sample of some of the comments that our friends responded with when this question came up.


Christine Brobeck: If it bursts outside, just keep soaking with warm water to draw the infection (pus) out.

Ann Woodside Kistler: My female had one that burst before I could get her to the vet, and the vet just gave antibiotics and said to put warm compresses on it.

Debbie Coleman: I have had this happen. Keep putting compresses on it. Let the stuff flow out that's good lots of puss and blood. Apply just the slightest of pressure to help in flow. The longer it stays open the better, so it can empty the junk out. When you think it has stopped use a triple antibiotic salve. After it opens up you can flush it with simple saline really well then continue with warm compresses

Kimberly Williams-Rodriguez: It will be fine. Keep it clean and the warm compresses still help draw circulation and draining. They [the vet clinics] don't usually do anything unless it persists. But it should resolve soon.

The added value of this sort of informal exchange is, we all learn something new or get a great review if the problem or concern is something we have not dealt with in awhile. We also are reminded of areas we should be talking to our veterinarians about.

We have some wonderful readers and friends from all walks of life and from around the world. From everything I have read and checked out as a follow-up we get in our responses, some are wonderful advice. Straight to the point and this can be so helpful when you are looking for information on current concerns, or running out of ideas. It is great to reach out and get some direct answers and insight to common problems. Many times when one is searching for new ideas one of our friends are able to make a suggestion that really can save time and even money.


  Please keep the questions coming, and the answers too.

While we always recommend to backup anything read on our pages with your veterinarian and other professionals, you can learn a lot of things you may not have thought about before and know when it is serious and worth asking your vet about ahead of time.


Edited by: Julie Bradford, Jan Mitchell