Whats that smell? Not an anal gland expression!

May 1, 2017

Weve rounded up our best tips on making this smelly procedure stink less.

That smell. It permeates your nose and you smell it hours later. Anal gland expressions stink. To help combat the smell, we've rounded up our best tips, crowd sourced from your submissions, and gathered them all in one place. Browse the tips below and see what new trick you can try in your practice.

Don't see something you use all the time? Send it to us! Email vm@ubm.com. We'll pay $50 for every tip we publish.

How to build a “Butt Bucket"

Are you always looking for the items you need to express your patients' anal glands? Try doing what the team at Neighborhood Pet Clinic in Vancouver, Washington does. Their technicians put together a carrier they call the "Butt Bucket" and filled it with the essentials. Inside there are gloves, lubricant, baby wipes and various fragrances to make this task smell a whole lot better. It can be moved conveniently between their three treatment areas.

Wipe away noxious smells with ear cleanser

I find that Epi-Otic (Virbac) ear cleanser eliminates the stench of anal sac secretions and tomcat urine and leaves a clean, deodorizing scent. After expressing anal sacs, I wipe the perianal area with Epi-Otic-soaked gauze sponges to remove any remaining smell. Clients appreciate this effort, and it makes giving the patient a bath unnecessary.

To rid stained clothing or other surfaces of lingering odors, apply the cleanser directly and generously to the stained item and let it penetrate for several minutes or until the odor has been eliminated.

Dr. Cathy Deptula

Brandon, Florida


Neater anal gland expression

When expressing anal glands, Dr. Sandra Wu of Garden City Park, New York, double-gloves. After expressing the material onto a paper towel, she turns one glove inside out around the paper towel to discard it. Then she uses the same gloved hand (now clean) to wipe the anal area with gauze soaked with Nolvasan (Zoetis) After discarding the second glove, she has a clean hand to spray the area with a little perfume. This technique makes an undesirable procedure less messy for everyone.

Shield yourself-and others-from anal gland discharge

To keep myself and others from being sprayed with anal gland discharge, I keep a paper towel between us and the anal glands I'm expressing. I put on gloves, stick my finger through the center of a paper towel, and then place lube on my finger. This way if anything is discharged from the glands, it will land on the paper towel and not on our scrubs.

Kristen Weldy, lead animal health technician

Streamwood, Illinois

Deodorize anal gland odor

Wiping a small amount of Speed Stick (Colgate-Palmolive) deodorant on a piece of gauze and placing the gauze on the anal gland area after expression makes the smell disappear. One of our former veterinarians showed us that trick.

Amber Green, RVT

Thousand Oaks, California