Treating dog abscesses is something every dog owner needs to know about. They are a lot like kids; dogs are fun, adventurous and curious. They play hard and accidents do happen. That’s life! Minor skin wounds can quickly turn into abscesses if not treated properly.
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What are Dog Abscesses?
Abscesses are quite common in dogs, and every dog owner should know how to treat them.
Abscesses form when there is some sort of trauma to the skin and it becomes infected. Trauma may be in the form of cuts, scrapes, or bites. Or embedded fox-tails or grass seeds may all cause abscesses.
Abscesses can form all over the body, including the head and neck, face, limbs and even on such areas as the rectum or anal gland. However, treating dog abscesses is usually the same irrespective of where the abscess is on your dog’s body. Abscesses that are in particularly painful or sensitive places, such as the head and neck or anal glands, may need treatment more quickly to prevent further disease and damage.
Abscesses form when the infection becomes trapped under the skin, creating a swelling of fluid, such as pus, blood, and other materials. Abscesses usually appear red or discolored, and may also be hot to the touch, painful, or ooze debris. Many dogs with abscesses tend to lick at the area, chew, or refuse to use a limb if an abscess is on the foot or leg.
Preventing Dog Abscesses
Abscesses can sometimes be prevented if care is taken to keep wounds clean and dry. The sooner you act, the better your chances of preventing the formation of an abscess.
You can clean the wound with gentle cleaners. It’s important to keep the wound free from dirt and debris. Some abscess types, such as those created by a cat or other animal bites, often become infected, even with preventive treatment. This is usually due to the bacteria present in an animal’s mouth.
Placing an Elizabethan collar, sock, or T-shirt over the wound can prevent your dog from licking the site. If you spot a foreign body on his skin, try to gently remove it. But if it is deeply embedded, it may need further treatment.
Treating Dog Abscesses Typically Requires Veterinary Attention
Abscesses that have already formed usually require veterinary treatment. Once the abscess has formed, it means the body is already infected, and the body needs professional attention.
Abscesses in easy-to-access spots, such as limbs or on the body, are usually aspirated and drained, then treated with antibiotics over a course of 7-10 days. Abscesses that have foreign bodies may be opened up to safely remove the foreign body, then sutured back up to prevent infection. Abscesses in difficult to reach locations or abscesses that are particularly large may sometimes have a drain placed in them for 7-10 days to keep the area freely draining and prevent it from refilling with infection.
Dogs that have drains inserted should have the area kept clean by wiping away any debris with a clean wet washcloth. An Elizabethan collar should also be worn to prevent dogs from accidentally pulling out the drain.
Abscesses can also sometimes return after draining and treatment with an antibiotic. These may require a drain or additional courses of medication to be placed in order to treat it. In rare cases, the abscess may need to be surgically removed, including some surrounding tissue, and then closed with healthy tissue surrounding it.
Treating Dog Abscesses With Natural And Homeopathic Products
There are some alternative natural solutions that may help prevent an abscess from forming. However, once infection has gotten to the point of abscess, it is best to seek veterinary treatment to prevent further spread of the infection.
Homeopathic remedies, such as HeparSulph 200C, may help reduce an injury’s tendency to an abscess. An herbal hot compress mixed with slippery elm or castor oil can help reduce swelling. Feeding Echinacea or garlic may also help prevent bacterial infection or abscess from occurring when a wound is spotted.