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D2003-16

Dear Daisy Dog

Mitzi, our 4-year-old dog, occasionally drags her rear end along the carpet, where she leaves a brown, foul-smelling streak. Does this mean she has worms? How can we prevent her from scooting?

Daisy Responds

It’s unlikely that worms are the culprit, but to be sure, take a stool sample along when you have your veterinarian examine Mitzi.

Mitzi’s scooting is more likely a result of impacted anal sacs.
These two sacs are located just inside and beneath the rectum. They produce a watery liquid that is supposed to come out with each bowel movement.

The liquid’s distinctive odor lets other dogs know Mitzi was there.

Sometimes the sacs don’t empty on their own. That’s more common in small dogs than large dogs, for reasons that are not well understood.

It’s also more common in overweight dogs, probably because fat presses on the ducts through which the liquid empties, and in dogs with overly long ducts.

When the anal sacs don’t empty as they should, the material inside becomes a thick granular paste.

Some dogs scoot their rear ends along the ground to partially empty the sacs and relieve the pressure. Others lick and chew under the tail when their anal sacs are full.

Impacted anal sacs that are ignored can rupture through the skin, so ask your veterinarian to check Mitzi’s. If they are full, periodically emptying them will prevent scooting.

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