Abscess

An abscess is a pocket of infected material, or pus, consisting of bacteria or other organisms, as well as red and white blood cells.

How do Dogs and Cats get Abscesses?

This type of infection has many causes. Often, a bite or other penetrating wound carries bacteria into the tissues. Infection builds at the site, which produces pus. If the pus has no place to drain out of the body, an abscess forms under the skin or in deeper tissues, causing significant damage and endangering the pet.

Abscess Symptoms

If the pus has no place to drain out of the body, an abscess forms under the skin or in deeper tissues, causing significant damage and endangering the pet.

  • A painful area on your pet's body
  • Swelling, or mass with bruising and foul smelling discharge at the site
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Reluctancy to move
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased water intake

Abscess Diagnosis & Treatment

Abscesses are diagnosed using symptoms, examination findings, history, blood testing and sometimes x-rays. Treatment depends on the severity of the abscess. Antibiotics are needed to control infection. Many abscesses require surgical removal of infected tissue and drainage.

Often a surgical drain will need to be left in place for a few days. Good wound care and cleaning are essential to speed the healing process.

Post-Treatment and Prevention Tips

Good wound care and cleaning are essential to speed the healing process.
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  • Use all medications as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Follow all wound care instructions your veterinarian provided.
  • Keep your pet indoors or in a confined area during the treatment period.
  • Do not allow any chewing, licking or scratching at surgical drains or stitches.
  • An Elizabethan (cone shaped) collar will probably be required if a pet will not stop chewing/licking wound.
  • Monitor your pet carefully and have him/her rechecked as recommended by your veterinarian.

Learn More

If you have questions about this or any medical topic, please contact your Banfield hospital today. You can also browse through our pet health library for more articles on pet health concerns like the ones below: