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Pet Behavior:
Scooting

 

Scooting or dragging of the rear end along the floor or ground, can be a signal to you as a pet owner of a few concerns.  Normally this indicates that something is irritating the area under the tail of your pet,  and the act of scooting or dragging the rear end along the floor serves to soothe this irritation. 

Among the more common conditions that are responsible for irritation of this area include:  Tapeworm infection, swollen or impacted anal glands, stool or dried fecal material stuck to the hair under the tail, skin irritation or infection in this area.

Tapeworm infection results in the shedding of small rice-like segments of the tapeworm, which are motile.  These segments are actually comprised of the tapeworm eggs.  When they "crawl:" out of the rectum, the movement against the skin results in an irritation, and often times scooting is a result.

Anal glands are located on either side of the rectal opening, and function to empty when the pet defecates, as a form of territorial marking.  The odor from the anal gland fluid is very fetid strong odor, and alerts other animals to the territory being marked.  Sometimes the duct leading out to the rectal opening becomes clogged or narrowed, and doesn't allow for the contents of the gland to be expressed.  Thus, scooting occurs in order to try and express the gland(s) by the pet. 

Normally the anal glands can not be expressed by will, and a groomer or veterinarian must do so for the pet. This should ONLY be done for the pet if the glands are unable to empty by themselves.  Otherwise, the pet will become dependent upon manual expression of the anal glands if done on a routine basis. 

If left unattended, the gland(s) may become infected as the retained material becomes stagnant.  The result can be an anal gland abscess, which will eventually rupture and drain its contents.

Stool or dried fecal material often times can collect in the hair of medium to long hair breeds which can pose a problem.  Sometimes the act of defecation is prevented by this collection of fecal material, but most commonly the pet will scoot their rear end to try and rid themselves of this material. 

Often times, the area beneath the tail requires clipping or removal of the hair along with the fecal material to alleviate the problem. Irritation of the skin on or around the anal region can result in scooting or licking of this area. 

Sometimes grooming an animal too close to the skin, or bacterial infections, allergic reactions, can all contribute towards this type of irritation. 

Your veterinarian should be able to treat whatever the underlying cause, in order to stop the scooting from occurring.