Pet insurance policies are underwritten by Markel American Insurance Company.
Follow Us
Upset Boston Terrier standing in yard

Unneutered male dogs at risk

Q: Floyd, our 8-year-old, unneutered Boston terrier, suddenly developed a large swelling on one side of his anus, and he strains to move his bowels. Is this an impacted anal sac?

A: It may be, or it might be a mass in or near his anal sac—but it’s more likely a perineal hernia. Regardless, Floyd should see his veterinarian immediately.

A perineal hernia is protrusion of abdominal organs through a tear in the pelvic muscles. These hernias may develop on one or both sides of the anus.

The condition occurs most often in unneutered male dogs, particularly those that are middle-aged and older. Breeds most commonly affected are the Boston terrier, boxer, collie, old English sheepdog and Pekingese.

If Floyd has a perineal hernia, he will need surgery to repair it. He should be neutered at the same time to reduce the risk of recurrence. Fortunately, the prognosis following surgery is excellent.

If the swelling is just an impacted anal sac, your veterinarian can relieve the impaction before the anal sac ruptures. Make an appointment now, so Floyd will feel better soon.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com.

More From Figo Blog

You’ve probably noticed that cats display some...

You’ve decided it’s time to get a cat and we...

The US has a bounty of beautiful and diverse...

Reducing rabies risk: Dog and cat running around in grass

According to the Centers for Disease Control (...

Veterinarian holding white pup

Congratulations—you’ve become a dog parent!...

Great Dane with Harlequin coloring sitting on a mat

If you’ve ever wanted your own Scooby-Doo or...

Packing for a pet can be as tedious as getting...

HELP