Once More about Hepatoid Circumanal Glands of Dogs; History of Their Discovery and Causes of Revision of Their Structure and Function


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Abstract

In the skin surrounding the anus in dogs and other Canidae, there is a glandular sheet consisting of strongly developed hepatoid glands, as well as single apocrine glands and a certain number of sebaceous glands, which are much smaller and occur less frequently than the hepatoid glands. All three circumanal glands have excretory ducts connecting with the hair bags (hair funnels). The hepatoid glands of some Canidae and Bovidae were extensively studied in the 1920s–1930s, but from the beginning of the 1950s until the present, as a result of the often repeated mistake passing from one book to another, old information about the hepatoid glands was fully lost, while the new information does not answer the question about the function of this complex and well developed structure. We were successful in repeating the data of the discoverers of the hepatoid glands and proved that these glands are exocrine and that their cells excrete protein to intercellular channels and then to ducts and hair funnels. According to the published data, the odor of the secretory substance of the circumanal hepatoid glands is essential for communication in wolves and dogs.

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