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Your Pet Has an Abscess. Now what?

Your Pet Has an Abscess. Now what?

An abscess is an accumulation of pus that has built up within bodily tissues and is usually the result of bacterial infection. Abscesses can occur in several places in an animal’s body. They vary in size from quite small to very large, and are not always visible to a pet owner. They are often extremely painful and when touched may feel warm and swollen.


What Causes a Pet Abscess?

  • Bite wounds may result in an abscess under the skin.
  • An anal sac can become impacted or infected and develop an abscess.
  • Damage to a tooth may cause an abscess in the tooth root.
  • Infections deep in the mouth, in the inner ear, or in a sinus can lead to a brain abscess.
  • Pneumonia or an inhaled foreign object may cause a lung abscess.
  • A generalized blood-borne infection can result in a liver abscess.
  • An unneutered male dog may develop an infection leading to an abscess in the prostate gland.


How to Tell if Your Pet has an Abscess

Hiding: If your normally outgoing pet starts to hide away in inconspicuous places, this is a sign that something is wrong. The animal may be trying to get away from the pain of an abscess.

Scooting: Your pet might be “scooting” along the ground in an attempt to relieve the pain of an abscess in the anal glands.

Rectal Bleeding: Blood coming from the rectum may indicate a ruptured abscess.

Under-Eye Swelling: An abscess in a tooth root will typically form a bump or swelling just below the eye.


What is the Right Treatment for a Pet Abscess?

Seek veterinary help as soon as possible before things get worse. Small abscesses in accessible body areas are easily treated. Larger abscesses may need surgical intervention. Often a drain will be inserted into the affected area to provide an escape route for secretions from damaged tissues. A tooth root abscess will require extraction of the affected tooth.


Follow-Up Home Treatment

Keep your pet inside as much as possible until the infection is completely cured. And, it’s important to follow your vet’s instructions, which may include the following.

  • Cleaning the area around the drain.
  • Applying a hot compress to the affected site twice a day for a few days.
  • Giving medications exactly as prescribed. Even though your pet may seem to be better, it’s crucial not to stop any medications designed to prevent recurring infection.

Contact your vet if the abscess site is not healing and/or you notice increased redness and/or heat. Also be concerned if Your pet seems listless and is not eating.


Best Emergency Vet and Surgery Center in Columbia, South Carolina

If you live in our area and you have a pet with an abscess, or you suspect that an abscess might be present even if you can’t see one, don’t hesitate to bring your animal to us. It’s a mistake to try to open the abscess yourself – we see lots of abscesses and know how to properly deal with them. An abscess is no fun for your pet, so don’t wait to call us so that we can make him or her more comfortable.