Cytological examination and physical characteristics of the anal sacs in 17 clinically normal dogs

D. C. Robson, G. G. Burton, M. F. Lorimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To quantify numbers of leucocytes, keratinocytes and microorganisms in, as well as the turgidity, colour and consistency of, anal sac exudates in clinically normal dogs. Design: Selection criteria were formed based on the absence of clinical signs associated with anal sac disease, and the absence of factors potentially affecting colonic flora. Anal sacs were palpated for turgidity then expressed onto a swab, where colour and consistency were noted. A squash preparation made from any exudate was heat fixed and stained with modified Wright's stain. Eight representative 1000× oil immersion fields from each were examined for leucocytes, erythrocytes, keratinocytes, bacteria and yeast. Results were summarised, and cytological counts grouped into quartiles (minimal, few, moderate, numerous). Due to the multivariate nature of the study and limited subject numbers, further significant statistical analysis could not be performed. Results: Seventeen dogs satisfied the selection criteria. The physical characteristics of the exudate and sac varied, though 31/34 sacs were empty or soft, 22/27 exudates were light or dark brown and 19/27 exudates were a thin liquid. Total leucocyte, keratinocyte and bacilli counts were extremely variable. Yeasts were present in 26/208 microscopic fields examined cytologically. Only 5/208 fields showed numerous cocci. A single instance of intracellular bacteria and a single erythrocyte were noted following examination of all fields. Conclusion: In this study, the characteristics of normal anal sacs and their exudate varied but greater than 70% showed similar features. Exudate cytology was highly variable, though yeasts were uncommon, and intracellular cocci and erythrocytes extremely rare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-41
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian veterinary journal
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

Cite this