Thursday, May 29, 2014

Doctor, What is That Smell?

If you’ve ever noticed a foul odor wafting from your pet’s hind end, there's a chance that anal sacs may be the source of the problem. As any pet parent will tell you, nothing smells as uniquely terrible as the material emitted from these glands.

In some mammals, including dogs and cats, anal sacs are small pouches which store secretions from the glands between the internal and external sphincter muscles. A dog or cat can discharge the material collected in the sac through these ducts.

One thing this liquid has in common: it almost always has a terribly offensive odor, and one that is difficult to remove from carpets, beds and clothing.

The function of these small but potent scent glands is believed to be for territorial marking and communication. Those unfortunate enough to have unexpectedly frightened a dog may have experienced the canine’s ability to ‘spray’ their glandular contents - sometimes as far as six feet! Some biologists believe, for the ancestors of modern day dogs and cats, these organs were not only used in communication, but could also have been used as defense (much as a skunk sprays for self-preservation). I can assure you that when the trapped substances are released, they’re sufficiently foul to ward off any human predators!

In most animals, anal glands function completely normally. For the most part, if it’s not a problem, you’d never have a reason to know about them. Many pet parents don’t even know that their pet has anal glands. Read the entire article

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