OPINION: Let’s talk about dogs' bottoms

OPINION: I am sure we have all seen either our own or someone else's dog sliding happily along the grass or carpet on their butts (known as scooting) with a look of extreme pleasure on their face.

Worms, I hear you shriek as you then try to avoid all physical contact with this otherwise happy canine for fear of contracting the dreaded white, wriggly things yourself.

Relax. While worms can occasionally be the culprit of this unseemly behaviour, 95% of the time it is due to impacted anal glands, thankfully not a condition contagious to humans.

Anal glands are two small glands that are located approximately in the 8o'clock and 4o'clock position beside the anus.

These glands are designed to secrete a small amount of fluid onto the faeces a dog passes and acts as a signature for that particular dog, allowing other dogs to identify who has been in the area.

It is also the gland used by skunks to ward off predators and while the skunk has conscious control of the discharge of these smelly weapons, our canine companions do not.

Unplanned discharge often occurs in times of stress or fright resulting in an unpleasant, almost fishy odour.

For reasons largely unknown, the fluid within the glands becomes thickened resulting in a blockage of the ducts leading from the glands. As more material builds up behind this blockage, it becomes irritating to the dog hence the scooting to try and alleviate the blockage.

If this is not successful, the material continues to accumulate until an abscess forms which eventually ruptures through the skin - a truly painful condition.

So, if you see your dog carpet surfing take it to your nearest vet for some relief. We can also advise you on some tactics ranging from dietary supplements to surgery to help avoid future issues.

For all you cats quietly sniggering at your canine cousins' embarrassing dilemma, bad news, it can also affect you, only instead of scooting to display your discomfort, you will usually furiously lick your anus - who's laughing now!

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