If the dog is constantly licking the area under its tail, most likely the cause is the anal glands blockage. In a physiologically healthy state, they cleanse on their own regularly with each defecation. But with a sedentary lifestyle and malnutrition, this function stops working and the dog body cannot perform the cleansing process on its own. Invermination only adds discomfort to the dog’s condition; therefore, anthelmintic agent should be administered periodically.
What are Anal Glands?
Caval organs of small size at the anus fundament filled with a specific thick secret of brown or gray color are called anal glands or sacs. The function of the glands is to mark animal’s territory with its specific smell. The secret is squeezed out by animals to leave information about themselves and claim their right to hunting grounds. In a healthy dog the glands are cleansed naturally with every defection and do not cause problems. Upon meeting another dog, the animals read out each other’s information through the specific individual smell produced b those glands.
Causes of Blockage
When the body does not perform some of its functions, the secret becomes thick and the dog cannot squeeze the liquid out which brings considerable discomfort to the animal. And this may be the reason why the pet licks the base of its tail trying to soothe the pain. These are some of the possible causes:
- a sedentary lifestyle, which leads to stagnation in the animal’s body, weakens its muscles, both external and internal ones;
- if the dog enjoys gnawing a bone too much, it can cause internal injury to the intestines and rectum;
- external wounds, blows, bruises, bites;
- malnutrition, constipation or loose bowel movements;
- problems with the immune system;
- genetic predisposition, most often manifested in dogs of decorative breeds;
- infectious and bacterial contaminations.
All these above can lead to blockage of the glands, which makes the self-cleaning impossible, and thus the animal requires compulsory cleaning. The procedure of anal sacs cleansing can be performed either in the veterinary clinic or at home by compressing and physically removing the secret from the sinuses. It is important to indicate the symptoms of the blockage at the initial stage and take timely action, since the accumulation and thickening of the secret can cause complicating disorders that will require long-term treatment.
When the dog is gnawing at its tail whining, it may indicated the inflammatory process in the anal sacs. Stagnant secret can be absorbed into the bloodstream, causing itches and pain. The tissues of the glands themselves begin to fester and form into an an abscess. There may be fever, the defecation is accompanied by pain, the animal looks lethargic, refuses food. The pet’s nus turns purplish red. With the abscess bursting through the skin, purulent discharge appears. In such cases, the pet needs immediate surgical removal of suppurations, followed by maintenance therapy. If assistance is not provided on time, the outcome of the disease can be fatal. Therefore, the guardian has to be very attentive when monitoring the condition of his or her pet and, if any serious symptoms are indicated, seek an advice from a veterinarian.
Other Possible Causes
Along with blockage of the anal glands, there may be more trivial reasons for the dog’s licking under its tail.
- Worm infestation. Accompanying symptoms are: an unpleasant heavy odor coming from the feces, secretion of mixed mucus and blood, the animal looking tired and lifeless albeit the adequate nutrition, general lethargy. Aa course of anthelmintic drugs is usually prescribed in this case.
- Allergic reaction to food or flowering plants. Additional signs: discharge from the nose and eyes, general skin itching and rashes.
- Neuralgic diseases, manifested in compulsive repetition of a particular action, in this case, licking of the anus. This can lead to the development of acral dermatitis or furunculosis.
- Fungal infections. Pathogenic microflora infiltrates the body of the animal while outside and causes skin discoloration and itching.
- Fleas that often settle in the dog’s crotch and near the tail.
- Female dogs in estrus, pregnancy or postpartum. This, along with the usual hygiene, can be associated with infections and inflammations of the urogenital system.
In all these cases, it is mandatory to seek medical attention and the professional examination of the animal, which helps to determine the diagnosis and optimal treatment. Thus, there are many reasons that can provoke constant licking of an area the tail in dogs. The most likely and common condition is the blockage of the anal glands. To identify other causes a careful examination of the animal is required.