Your data on MRCVSonline
The nature of the services provided by Vision Media means that we might obtain certain information about you.
Please read our Data Protection and Privacy Policy for details.

In addition, (with your consent) some parts of our website may store a 'cookie' in your browser for the purposes of
functionality or performance monitoring.
Click here to manage your settings.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Study reveals dog breeds most at risk of anal sac disorders
Bracycephalic breeds such as Shih-Tzu are 2.6 times more likely to develop an anal sack disorder compared to long-faced dogs.

Findings provide guidance for more targeted work on risk factors and treatments.

The frequency and treatment of anal sac disorders in dogs have been explored in a first-of-its-kind study led by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).

Published in the journal Veterinary Record, the VetCompass™ study aims to correct the lack of evidence-based information on the epidemiology and clinical management of non-neoplastic anal sac disorders (ASD). In particular, it focuses on identifying dog breeds with an increased or reduced risk of this often-neglected syndrome.

It reveals that the breeds at most risk of an anal sac disorder are the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, King Charles spaniel and cockapoo. Conversely, dogs at reduced risk are larger breeds, such as the boxer, German shepherd and lurcher. 

Interestingly, the study found that brachycephalic breeds such as Shih-Tzu are 2.6 times more likely to develop an anal sac disorder compared to long-faced dogs, such as Border collies. Dachshund-types and Poodle-types also both had increased risk of anal sac disease. 

Researchers hope their results will fill knowledge gaps and guide research into anal sac disorders, helping breeders, owners and veterinary practice alike.

Study author Dr Dan O’Neill, a senior lecturer in companion animal epidemiology at the RVC, said: “During two decades in first opinion practice, anal sac problems in dogs were a routine daily presentation for me. However, when I searched the literature to find evidence on the best way to treat these dogs or even on which breeds were at most risk, there was almost no information available.

"It seemed back then that only problems that were severe enough to be referred to universities in large numbers were researched. As a result, vets in first opinion practice generally had to work out for themselves what seemed to be the best treatment in these cases. It is refreshing now to see research on common problems in dogs under first opinion veterinary care being reported. Owners and vets need this evidence vitally.”

In the study, researchers identified 2,372 anal sac disorder cases from a population of 104,212 dogs attending VetCompass™ practices during 2013. Other key findings include: 

  • anal sac disorders affected 4.4 per cent of dogs
  • the risks of anal sac problems were higher in older dogs
  • insured dogs were 1.53 times more likely to have anal sac problems diagnosed than uninsured dogs
  • 20 per cent of dogs with anal sac problems were prescribed antimicrobials, while 12 per cent were given pain relief
  • anal sacs were surgically removed in under one per cent of affected dogs.
  • dietary change was recommended in 8.18 per cent of cases, with weight loss recommended in 1.14 per cent of cases. 

Study co-author Dr Anke Hendricks, associate professor of veterinary dermatology at the RVC, commented: “Our understanding and management of anal sac disorders has not fundamentally changed since the 1970s, and there is still a lot we do not understand.

"By confirming the significance of anal sac problems in primary care practice in the modern dog population, this study now provides guidance for more targeted work on types of anal sac disorders, risk factors and best treatment practice.”

Large graphic (C) RVC's VetCompass programme

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

VET Festival returns for 2022

News Story 1
 VET Festival, the unique CPD opportunity, is returning for 2022, running from 20 to 21 May.

The outdoor event, held at Loseley Park in Guildford, will feature 17 education streams, with a dedicated stream covering veterinary wellness, leadership and management topics. The festival will feature veterinary speakers from around the world, with the opportunity to collect 14 hours of CPD across the two-day event.

Alongside veterinary education, VET Festival will also offer wellbeing activities such as yoga and mindfulness activities, with the popular VETFest Live Party Night making a return for 2022.

Tickets available here.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Avian influenza housing order declared in Yorkshire

A new avian influenza prevention zone has been declared in North Yorkshire following the identification of H5N1 avian influenza at a number of premises.

The requirement means all bird keepers in Harrogate, Hambleton and Richmondshire are now legally required to keep their birds indoors and follow strict biosecurity measures.

Several other cases of H5N1 avian influenza have also been confirmed in recent days at sites in Essex, Cheshire and Cumbria. On Monday (22 November), the disease was identified near Wells-next-the-Sea, North Norfolk.