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Ask the Veterinarian/Abscess on Dog


Dog: Shepherd Mix, 30 lbs, 10 years old

Dr. Gotthelf,

About a month ago, my dog was found to have an abscess on her lower back above her tail. Surgery was performed and drain tubes were put in place. We have been diligent about caring for the wound and giving her antibiotics on schedule. Now over 3 weeks later, the abscess is still expelling lots of pus and a new, smaller abscess has formed on her back above the previous abscess.

Our vet is suggesting another surgery to re-open the abscess. Does this seem like the correct treatment and is there anything else that can or should be done?

Thanks in advance,


Yes, abscesses must be either completely removed or they are drained to allow healing.  It may be that there is foreign material under the skin that is migrating.  I would also recommend a bacterial culture to see if there is a resistant bacteria that may be causing the abscess to worsen.

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Dr. Louis N. Gotthelf


Dermatology and ear diseases of dogs and cats


I am the author of "Small Animal Ear Diseases; An Illustrated Guide" published by W.B. Saunders. I have over 25 years of clinical experience with a special interest in dermatologic conditions and ear diseases.

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