Veterinary Technician and Expressing anal glands

location of anal sacs

Most dog owners never get to experience the very rewarding past-time of anal gland expression. Now, a lot of people will find the entire process very disgusting. However as a vet technician, expressing anal glands is kind of just part of the deal. So why do I say it is rewarding? Well there is just a great deal of satisfaction in removing such a vial substance from the dog, providing relief for the dog, and also instantly becoming the owners hero. Yes, I just made your dog instantly smell better. And your house will no longer smell like the local fish market. Also your dog will no longer be scooting on that amazing rug or new carpet. Actually I can’t promise you that. There is a good chance that your dog just likes destroying your expensive new property (got to love them). So everyone wins, right? Well most of the time, but unfortunately when someone doesn’t win it is usually the vet tech.

So what happens when “ANAL GLANDS GO WRONG!!!!”. I like to picture that last sentence as one of those awesome reality shows with a lot of car chases and bar brawls. Because lets face it, expressing anal glands can become extremely dangerous. No I am not referring to the dog. I am referring to the vet tech. There is nothing worse than looking down at a clean paper towel and latex glove. Especially when you know for a fact that you just expressed that gland. So you keep looking further down. Alright well it’s not on my shoe. I don’t see any on my pants. At this point your chin is pressed against your neck. Finally you see your scrub top.. BAM! I imagine it being like a movie when someone realizes that they have been shot. There is a look of horror on the characters face as they slowly lift a bloody hand. Only as a vet tech, the look of horror is actually a look of disgust from the pungent liquid that is now adorning your scrub top. Hopefully that was the second anal sac and you can get the hell out of there to change. Otherwise you may have to soldier through the smell and express the other sac as the holder looks at you and shakes their head, most of the time trying not to laugh. Lest the holder thinks it is funny, I have seen several instances of ricochet where the holder is definitely not laughing.

But seriously, expressing anal glands usually does give the dog a lot of relief. Though I have to say, if you don’t like disgusting smells or gross liquids you may be in for a horrible time. As a vet tech it seems like you are constantly running into one or the other. Just remember to focus your mind somewhere else during the process and everything will be fine!


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