How To Treat An Abscess

by Nancy Boland

As all dog owners know it’s really important to check a pet over after having been out for a walk in the countryside or through a park where dogs are allowed off their leads. It is fairly common for a dog to suffer a small injury whether it’s a tiny cut or a larger type of surface wound. However, if you don’t treat even the smallest of wounds correctly it can turn into something rather more serious and problematic especially if it gets infected and bacteria manages to penetrate deep into skin tissue. This is known as an abscess. How to treat an abscess:


As with most injuries and illnesses, early treatment is essential. However, some wounds however quickly treated can turn into an abscess due to bacteria already forming. Small injuries on legs or the underside of your pet’s body can often go unnoticed and bacteria manages to penetrate deep into your pet’s skin tissue.  A quick brush over after a walk will help you notice if there is any sort of cut or abrasion so you can treat it straight away and therefore reduce the risk of an infection taking hold.

Types of Bacteria

The most common bacteria to cause a skin infection is pasteurella multocida. However, another one is staphylococcus intermedius and both of these can usually be treated by using a topical antibiotic ointment. The problems begin when the bacteria gets deeper into the dog’s skin where it can grow and fester which then turns into a more serious infection in the form of an abscess.

how to treat an abscess

The first thing a vet normally does is carry out a swab test to see which type of bacteria is causing the infection and this is done by swabbing the infected area. A blood test would also be needed because it is really important to know if the infection has entered into the bloodstream. As soon as an accurate diagnosis has been made your vet will discuss the best treatment for your dog.

If the bacteria has penetrated the skin tissue deeply it can cause a serious infection which turns into an abscess and as such the treatment would need to be rather more aggressive and vets would need to thoroughly clean, drain and then flush the infected area in order to prevent a deeper infection occurring which could cause more complications. The dog would then be put on a course of antibiotics so the bacteria can be brought under control.

The type of antibiotic used would depend on the seriousness of the abscess and how deep it is in the dog’s skin tissue. Should the infection have entered into the bloodstream, the vet will need to make a thorough examination of the dog and carry out necessary tests to find out which bacteria is causing the infection before recommending a course of treatment. There is no one type for every dog and every situation, which is why immediate care is so vital.

Managing Injuries
It is really important to keep on top of any sort of skin injury, cuts and abrasions which then help prevent bacteria from taking hold. If the bacteria do manage to go deeper then a painful abscess may form and the infection may even enter into your pet’s bloodstream which is not only extremely painful but very dangerous to your dog’s health.


As part of your doggy first aid kit cabinet, you should include a few topical treatments which are specifically formulated for use on dogs. These over-the-counter anti-bacterial treatments, whether it’s an ointment or solution can help reduce the chances of an infection setting in.

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