A closer look: Anal Scooting in Dogs
Scooting is often not a medically relevant symptom. It can be as harmless as scratching an itch. A dog may scoot as a normal process for emptying its anal glands, for example. If scooting becomes excessive or if it presents alongside other symptoms (such as visible changes in the external anal area), then it is much more likely to indicate a need for veterinary attention.
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The potential causes include anything that can irritate the perianal area, rectum, or anus.
The most notable variation in the severity of the symptom is if it occurs excessively. Excessive scooting may be a sign of an illness or injury, especially if other symptoms are present.
Testing and diagnosis
When scooting warrants investigation, the diagnostic process consists of a series of common tests, including:
- Physical examination, including rectal palpation
- Stool sample
- Radiography or CT scanning
Treatment varies according to the underlying condition. Treatment might include dietary changes, parasite control, or medications (such as antibiotics, antifungals, or allergy meds). Surgery may be considered as an option for dogs with frequent anal gland impaction. Surgery is necessary for serious conditions such as rectal cancer.
Anal scooting is unique and not likely to be confused with other symptoms. Normal scooting that is not cause for concern may be confused with symptomatic scooting that is seen alongside with other symptoms of illness.