Anal Gland Blockage in Cats

by Naomi Millburn, Demand Media
    Anal gland blockage tends to be more common in dogs but can happen to cats, too.

    Anal gland blockage tends to be more common in dogs but can happen to cats, too.

    For cat lovers around the world, anal gland blockage might not be the most appealing subject. But occasionally it's a very important one, especially if it is causing your fluff ball discomfort "back there." Plus, the symptoms often can be less than pleasant on your nose.

    What is Anal Gland Blockage?

    If you don't know exactly what anal gland blockage is, the term probably sounds scary, weird, confusing -- and gross. The situation is rather simple. Cats possess a pair of anal glands that sometimes experience fluid blockage. When substances that typically leave your cat's body with stool remain, this uncomfortable impaction takes place.

    Symptoms

    Don't start worrying that your cat's anal sacs are blocked and you just don't know about it. Thankfully -- or not -- the symptoms, including a strong odor, are usually obvious. Along with that decidedly unpleasant odor, you also might spot your precious pet dragging her hind region across the floor; her legs are not broken, but her back end does not feel so great. The uncomfortable feeling also might prompt your cat to lick her rear area, both obsessively and conspicuously.

    Emptying

    When you suspect that your cat has anal gland blockage, veterinary attention is the next step (always consult a qualified vet about the health and welfare of your pet). A vet will be able to "empty" the blockage for your poor kitty. Bonus for you: Your vet also can show you how you can do the same for your suffering pet. You'll learn how to hold up your pet's tail and locate the small glands with your hands, then gently squeeze the nearby skin and eliminate the substance buildup. This release comes with a distinctly bad smell -- an indication that you're doing it right. It's definitely a messy and undesirable job, but you can think about how much better she'll feel after you're done. Or maybe just let the vet take care of it.

    Constipation

    One risk associated with anal gland blockage is constipation. If you notice that your kitty just hasn't been going number two recently, investigate the situation (and, again, consult your vet). Anal gland blockage might be the culprit.

    Prevention

    If blockage is a frequent issue for you cat, no matter how often those glands are emptied, some dietary changes might be what she needs. Speak to your pet's veterinarian about food changes that can minimize anal gland problems. The vet might suggest more fiber, which makes the texture of cat feces firmer and bulkier. The additional pressure might help the glands clean out whenever your pet eliminates. Voila! Goodbye blockage nightmare.

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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