Abscess in dogs: how to treat, when to the vet?

It is quite common for an abscess to form in the dog. These pus accumulations directly under the skin are usually unproblematic. However, if they are inside the body, it can be dangerous. In any case, a veterinarian should treat the abscess. Before a veterinarian can treat the dog's abscess, he must examine it thoroughly - Image: Shutterstock / NEstudio

If you feel strange swelling or encapsulation while petting your dog, it is often an abscess. Even the smallest of injuries can let bacteria into the body that form pus. Opening the encapsulation at home is associated with risks, so you should definitely have a veterinarian treat the abscess.

Abscess in dogs: these are the possible causes

Especially when romping wildly with other fur noses, your partner can quickly get small injuries such as scratches on four paws, but bites or insect bites are also potential causes of an abscess in the dog. For example, bacteria that can be found in the mouth flora of other dogs get under the skin through the wound. The tissue ignites and there is occasional strong pus formation. The body tries to counteract this and, over time, encapsulates pus and wound fluid. The result of this process is called a mature abscess.

Other causes are, for example, operations, dental diseases or diseases of the mouth or jaw. They are particularly dangerous because the bacteria can get into the organs like the kidney via the bloodstream or lymphatic fluid and cause an internal abscess there. Only a veterinarian can treat this.

First aid for dogs: wound care

If the dog has a wound while walking, at home or when fighting with a fellow species ...

Common symptoms that indicate an abscess

An abscess in the dog initially manifests itself as an increasing swelling under the skin. Often you can still see superficial injuries such as bites, scratches or punctures that are scabbed. The tissue around the wound is red. Fever can also be a sign of an abscess. The body uses all the means at its disposal to fight inflammation. Internal pus accumulations are usually accompanied by vomiting, lethargy and loss of appetite. The lymph nodes may also be swollen.

Other possible symptoms:
• Pressure pain when touched
• Increased heat generation around the abscess
• hair loss
• Smaller areas of skin die off due to insufficient blood supply

Abscess in dogs: how do vets treat them?

The veterinarian looks at the abscess in the dog. However, treatment can only take place when the abscess is ripe, i.e. the capsule around the pus has closed completely. This may take a while, but medications such as ointments speed up the process. Pain relievers help your darling through this time. In some cases, an antibiotic is also prescribed to help prevent bacteria from spreading into the bloodstream.

If the abscess is ripe, it is opened under local or general anesthesia so that the pus can drain outwards. If you treat yourself or not at all, there is a great risk that the pus will pour inwards. The result is life-threatening blood poisoning (sepsis). If the abscess has burst in the dog, the treatment becomes more difficult because it is no longer possible to simply rinse the tissue capsule with a disinfectant solution after the pus has drained away.

The veterinarian must remove the pus from all of the tissue to prevent sepsis. After successful treatment, it is important to take good care of the wound and keep it clean so that no other bacteria can get into it. An antibiotic will help your dog fight the remaining pathogens inside the body.