What Medications Are Given to Dogs With Anal Infections?


The medications your vet prescribes for your dog's anal infection depends on the diagnosis and stage of the condition. Most often, it's the anal sacs that develop infections.

Anal Sac Infection

Anal sac infections are fairly common, especially in small and toy breeds. Normally, the anal sacs on either side of the animal's anus empty their secretions when the dog has a bowel movement. Symptoms of anal sac infection include:

  • Scooting
  • Constantly licking the anal region
  • Foul odor
  • Pus emanating from the anal sacs
  • Tail chasing.

Along with expressing the anal sacs -- which your vet can teach you to do at home -- treatment consists of antibiotic therapy, which may be a combination of pills prescribed for a certain number of days along with an injection at the veterinary office.

Anal Sac Abscess

If the anal gland isn't expressed and becomes impacted, an abscess can develop. Many of the symptoms of an abscess are similar to an anal sac infection, but the dog also will spike a fever and suffer a great deal of pain. The anal sac is red and swollen. If the abscess ruptures before the dog receives veterinary treatment, a large amount of extremely nasty liquid and pus comes out. Your vet can lance the abscess and clean out the gunk, but your dog probably will require general anesthesia. She likely will apply a topical ointment containing antibiotics and steroids to the anal sac, and likely prescribe antibiotics. The type of antibiotics your dog receives depends on the results of the culture taken of the infected matter. Your dog also may receive anti-inflammatory drugs for pain. Even if the sac ruptures at home, take your pet to the vet to have the abscess cleaned out and medication prescribed.

Anal Furunculosis

Anal furunculosis refers to deep, chronic lesions developing around an animal's anus. It's always known as a perianal fistula. Besides the open sores, symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Licking the anal region
  • Inability to defecate
  • Constant need to defecate
  • Appetite loss.

After diagnosis, your vet may prescribe antibiotics to control infection, along with stool softeners and the immunosuppressive drug cyclosporine. She may give your dog an antifungal medication, such as ketoconazole. It's likely your vet will flush out your dog's lesions with a disinfectant, such as povidone iodine. Surgery usually isn't appropriate, except in the worst cases.


  • While anal furunculosis can be managed, it's not curable. Keep the area around your dog's anus clipped short, and bathe the area regularly with medicated shampoo prescribed by your vet.

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