Dog First Aid – Abscess

A lump or a sac that contains pus often develops in dogs. Swelling of the affected area and pain that hampers the normal movements of the dog are the typical symptoms of abscess. With first aid know how, a dog owner can manage the dog’s abscess at home to alleviate the discomfort and the pain the dog is feeling.

The swollen sac that contains pus can develop from bruises, scratches and puncture wounds. Dogs have the propensity to fight with other dogs and with other animals thus these skin injuries usually happen. An abscess is a large painful swelling that can develop on any part of the dog’s body. Abscess is the result of the fast healing of wounds so that the trapped dirt and germs would cause infection. The subcutaneous layer of the skin is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Bacteria will cause the inflammation of the skin.

The dog’s immune system will react to the infection by dilating blood vessels so that the blood supply that carries the white blood cells that will fight the attacked will be increased. However, the concentration of the white blood cells in the affected area would cause the hardening of the swollen sac when the white blood cells die. Pus and brown or yellowish smelly liquid will fill the sac. The lump and the surrounding skin will feel hot to the touch. An abscess would be painful thus the dog will be reluctant to its normal activities. Because of the pain, the dog may refuse to eat.

Some types of abscess would heal even without treatment. For abscesses that does not heal on their own, treatment would be necessary to save the pet from suffering more pain. Left untreated the abscess can seriously affect the tissues around the affected area and cause internal toxicity. It would be a good thing if the abscess ruptures spontaneously. Pus and smelly brown liquid would drain from the lump. The fur around the swollen lump will be caked by the oozing pus and smelly discharge. The matted fur must be clipped as close to the skin as possible. The pus and the bloody liquid must be allowed to drain fully.

Warm compress can be applied to the lump repeatedly until the abscess ruptures. Applying a wash cloth dipped in hot water to the abscess is aimed to increase blood flow to the affected area. The hot compress must be repeated several times until the abscess comes to a head. Once the abscess has ruptured, the core must be removed by squeezing the lump gently. Allow the pus and the discharge to drain completely. Use hydrogen peroxide to wash the opening of the lump. Liberally smear antiseptic on the affected area. Bandage must not be used on an abscess to allow the discharge to drain completely.

At Sarah’s Dogs you can read more about first aid for dogs and many other interesting things about dogs.