Dog Abscesses

"Dog abscesses form when white blood cells used by the body to fight infection die off. If skin forms around the dead cells it forms an area containing the dead cells or puss. Treatment involves draining the puss and antibiotics to remove any remaining infection."

Dog Bite Wound Abscess

When bacteria enters into a wound an infection forms. The body attacks the infection with white white blood cells that attack the infection and then turn into puss. If the body forms a layer of skin over the puss, dog abscesses form. Since puss is a collection of dead cells it could smell when draining.

Over time, the puss should turn into liquid and drain from the body. This can happen naturally. You can help the process by applying a warm washcloth to the area for approximately 10 minutes. Heat helps to liquefy the puss.

If the bite abscess doesn't drain naturally then the veterinarian will have to aide the draining process by lancing or cutting the abscess.

Your dog may suffer from a fever if the abscess does not drain and infection is still present. Antibiotics will be prescribed to ensure that any infection is eliminated.

An abscess should heal itself in a week. If it doesn't, see your veterinarian.

Canine Tooth Abscess

If your dog is suffering from an infection in a tooth due to bacteria in the mouth, it could form into an abscess.

When a dog is suffering from a broken or fractured tooth, infection forming bacteria can enter any exposed surfaces. If left untreated the bacteria can cause the tooth to die. As the tooth decays, bacteria can find its way into the jaw through the bottom of the tooth.

If the bacteria continues to advance you will see deterioration of the gums and possible travel through to the skin, particularly to just below the eyes.

Picture of Dog Tooth Abscess

Picture Dog Tooth Abscess

The first step in treatment is to use antibiotics to kill any spreading infection. Abscesses will need to be drained. Your veterinarian may recommend a root canal to repear any damage. If only the abscess is treated without focus on any dental damage the abscess could return through new bacteria that enters through the teeth and gums.

Dog Brain Abscess

A brain abscess is a condition where puss forms around the brain. It is similar to a brain tumor with symptoms such as fever.

Diagnosis is made via tests such as doing a CatScan or MRI.

Treatment involves high doses of antibiotics.

Dog Head and Neck Abscess

This type of abscess is caused by an animal bite or if a foreign object enters the body such as a wood splinter. One type of abscess forms behind the eye (called a retrobulbar abscess). Another kind is called submandibular which is an abscess in the lower jaw.

The onset of this condition is fast. Symptoms include:

* Fever
* Lack of appetite
* Reduced desire to drink
* Unusual head tilt

Treatment involves antibiotics to kill any infection that may be present. Warm clothes on the abscess itself can help liquefy the puss. This will make it easier for the abscess to either dissolve or be lanced and drained.

Ear Abscess or Swollen Dog Ear Flap

If you dog was in a fight and was scratched on the ear an abscess can form. If the swelling was not caused by the accumulation of puss then it could be due to a hematoma (the buildup of blood).

Symptoms include a painful reaction to the touch, head shaking and scratching.

Treatment includes antibiotics for any infection that may have formed and drainage of the abscess either naturally (apply warm cloths) or by a veterinarian (via a cut or lance).

Sources for Dog Abscesses:


American Veterinary Dental Society

Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

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