Abscess Drain/Flush

Animal doctor offers abscess drain/flush procedures, which can aid in healing wounds. We accept referrals and provide second opinions.

Description: An abscess is a pocket of inflammation and infection that typically has a wall of tissue around it, with the center filled with a liquid or solid material consisting of white blood cells, debris, and often bacteria.

Symptoms & What to look for: Abscesses are typically raised lesions under the skin that can be painful, inflamed (hot to the touch), firm or soft, and can have a wound or skin lesion associated with them. Abscesses can be located anywhere on the body, head to toe.

How does it happen? Abscesses can be caused by bite wounds between animals, spider bites and other traumatic injuries, as well as dental infections (tooth root abscess). We also see abscesses postoperatively occasionally.

Animal Doctor Abscess Drain/Flush
Animal Doctor Abscess Drain/Flush
Animal Doctor Abscess Drain/Flush

What questions do we ask?

  • Where is the swelling?
  • Describe any discharge or odor associated with the swelling.
  • Any changes in Appetite/ Thirst/ urination?
  • Any difficulty chewing or eating? Any dropping of food?
  • Any contact with other animals?
  • (Cats only) How often does your cat go outside? Does he/ she go outside on a leash or on a screened in porch?
  • (Cats only) Has your cat been tested for FeLV (feline leukemia) and FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) recently?
  • Any vomiting or diarrhea?
  • Any changes in energy level?
  • Have you tried anything at home?
  • Is the patient on any medications?

What are the steps we take to treat your pet?

  • What are the steps we take to treat your pet?
  • We will perform a physical examination and evaluate the swelling.
  • We often perform a fine needle aspirate of the swelling using a needle and syringe, depending on the location of the swelling.
  • Blood testing to help evaluate the extent of the infection is often recommended depending on the size, location, or other concerning symptoms associated with the swelling. If it is a cat, we recommend a blood test for FeLV and FIV.
  • If the infection is dental related, then a dental cleaning under anesthesia with digital dental radiographs is recommended.
  • We often recommend culturing the wound / abscess to more accurately identify the appropriate antibiotic(s).

Animal Doctor Abscess Drain/Flush potential treatment plans?

Oral medications

  • Oral antibiotics
  • Anti-inflammatories/pain medication
  • Appetite stimulants
  • Anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed.


  • Sedation with an intramuscular or intravenous injection to better evaluate, drain, and flush the abscess.
  • Anti-inflammatory injections
  • Antibiotic injections

Topical Medications/Treatments

  • Occasionally topical antibiotic/steroid/antifungal ointments are prescribed.
  • Chlorhexidine scrub soaked gauze pads to disinfect the abscess/wound
Animal Doctor

What are the risks if the abscess is left untreated?

Abscesses left untreated can rupture, become severely infected and necrotic, and can lead to a systemic infection (sepsis), and they continue to cause your pet pain and a poor quality of life. Dental abscesses will continue to recur unless the damaged tooth/teeth are extracted.