What is an abscess in dogs?
An abscess is a build-up of pus and other fluids in the dog - usually this happens in a wound just under the skin, but the same process can go on in a tooth (which can require it to be pulled). Basically, it is part of the healing process whenever foreign materials build up, such as bacteria or something that gets stuck in the dog. White blood cells flock to the wound, attacking the foreign body and trying to break it down. Many of them die in the process, forming the pus. An abscess will often resolve itself as the pus builds up, because when it breaks it will take much of the foreign material with it and out of the body.
Often, however, an abscess will not heal on its own. Dogs often aggravate them - they will bite or lick at them, leading to further infection from the germs in their saliva.
What are the symptoms?
Usually the abscess will occur at an injury site, often as a result of a fight, because the dog is at greater risk of infection from bite wounds. If your dog has been injured and it does not seem to be healing, there could well be one. Sometimes you can feel the pus under the skin or see it oozing out.
What is the treatment for dogs?
Your vet should look at any injuries that seem serious. If an abscess is developed, the vet will sanitize the area, lance it and clean out the pus using some disinfectants, and prescribe antibiotics for your dog to fight off the infection. If it has already ruptured, this is especially important, because your vet will need to clean it and bandage it so the dog can't lick at it. In teeth, they are often removed so the infection won't spread to nearby teeth.
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