An abscess is defined as a sac or lump that contains pus. Abscesses are generally caused by bacteria, parasites, or foreign material under the skin. Trauma to the skin or to the underlying tissues may predispose to infection and abscess formation.

Some abscesses heal without treatment if the white blood cells are able to destroy the invading cells. In this case, the active source of continued infection will be eliminated and the body will slowly absorb the pus that was created during the battle to destroy the invading material.

Frequently, though, abscesses do not heal without treatment and veterinary care is recommended.

Most commonly, abscesses are related to a recent fight or other penetrating puncture wound.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • The diagnosis of an abscess is typically accomplished through history, physical examination findings, and aspiration of a mass looking for pus.
  • Treatment depends on the cause and location of the abscess, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Treatment may include lancing and draining the abscess, antibiotics and cleaning the wound with disinfectant. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition.

What to Watch for*:

  • Redness, swelling, pain and/or discharge from wound
  • Missing hair
  • Poor Appetite
  • Lethargy

* Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!