Anal sac ruptures

by Shirley Reul
(Sebastian, FL)

My cat Ben keeps getting anal sac ruptures... What causes this and it is necessary to keep going back to the veterinarian? How can I avoid this if possible or is it like I have been told some cats are just more susceptible? This is his third time where it must have burst because I see blood on his rear.

Shirley Reul

Dear Shirley,

It is very important to try to avoid these anal sac ruptures in your cat. The anal sacs are two small glands on either side of a cat’s anus which normally secrete a liquid when your cat has a bowel movement. However, in some cats, the sacs do not secrete the liquid form properly, so it builds up, becomes impacted, and without treatment will eventually rupture.

Impacted anal sacs can be very serious and lead to infections. The anal sacs will rupture because the impacted fluid becomes so hard that the sacs become infected, and it ruptures through the skin because the infection takes the path of least resistance, meaning that it must burst through the skin. During the period of time leading up to these anal sac ruptures your cat can be in pain and the impaction can lead to lethargy, a decreased appetite, and secondary infections. Preventing these ruptures is very important for your cat.

First and foremost, your cat likely needs to have his anal sacs expressed regularly. If you are willing to do so, you could be taught how to express your cat’s anal sacs at home, or bring your cat to the vet on a regular basis for expressions. Doing so will prevent the fluid from becoming so terribly impacted that the sacs rupture.

Additionally, adding bulk to your cat’s stool can be helpful in some cats with chronic anal sac impactions. Adding some canned pumpkin to your cat’s diet, Metamucil, or additional fiber can make the stool larger, harder, and bulkier, which can help put enough pressure on the anal sacs to secrete the fluid.

I would recommend discussing the above options with your veterinarian.

Best wishes,
Dr. Neely

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