A small gland is located on either side of the anus, which produce a fluid that works as a form of olfactory identification between dogs. The glands that produce this liquid can become impacted and infected, causing discomfort and an itching sensation.
Anal gland impaction is a common complaint in dogs of all ages. Uncomplicated cases cause irritation that causes dogs to "scoot" their bottom along the floor or to rub their anus against walls and objects. Severely impacted glands produce a distinctly fishy smell and may even protrude from the anus. If the glands are inflamed on top of being impacted, abscesses may form and discharge pus, causing the animal pain and discomfort.
Anal gland impaction is caused by a blockage of the secretory duct, which leads to a buildup of fluid inside the gland. Soft feces may impede the natural emptying of the glands. If bacteria enters the gland, infection and abscess formation will ensue. In many cases, intolerance towards certain foods or ingredients contributes to the development of this condition.
The impacted glands have to be emptied by a veterinarian. The emptying of the glands is uncomplicated, however, it may cause discomfort or pain for the animal. One or two treatments per year are considered tolerable by most owners. If problems frequently reoccur, the glands have to be flushed with an antiseptic. Antibiotic treatment can help to relieve infection and prevent the formation of abscesses. In very severe cases, the glands will have to be chemically or surgically removed.
Consult with your veterinarian. Also, if you feel comfortable emptying the glands yourself, have him or her explain the proper technique to you.