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Skin Abscess in Dogs and Cats

Skin Abscess in Dogs and Cats

Herbal treatments to help address symptoms of cellulitis and skin abscess in dogs and cats.

The complexity of the immune system requires a multi-dimensional approach of nutritional factors directed at facilitating normal, balanced function and is not intended to be suppressed or stimulated. Plant botanicals provide nutritional and biochemical support for healthy immune response, to enhance the growth of healthy cells and tissues in the body’s defense mechanism. Used holistically for all types of arthritis, cancer and tumors, to protect healthy cellular response, to protect against invasion by potential allergens and pathogens, for most types of viral and bacterial diseases and diseases and for all types of inflammation and auto immune diseases.

Cellulitis is an infection involving the skin and subcutaneous tissue. Most cases are caused by puncture wounds, deep scratches, bites, and lacerations. Cellulitis often results from an untreated wound, however, can be blood borne once an infection is active in the body. 

An area affected by cellulitis will be sensitive and tender to pressure, will feel warm to the touch, will be red and an abscess will accumulate pus under the skin. Infection can spread to the lymph nodes. As infection spreads out from the wound, you may feel tender cords beneath the skin, which are swollen lymphatic channels. Regional lymph nodes in the groin, armpit, or neck may enlarge in an attempt to halt the spread of infection. 

A skin abscess is a pocket of pus beneath the epidermis.  An abscess most commonly occurs under the skin as a result of a puncture wound but can develop anywhere there is a space or pocket in the body, such as around a tooth root.

The pus that accumulates includes dead bacteria and dead white blood cells that your pet's immune system has attempted to contain to stop bacterial growth and keep the infection localized. Because cellulitis and abscess causes a great deal of pain and discomfort for your dog and cat, they may refuse to walk or eat, especially if suffering from an abscess.

Pimples, pustules, furuncles, and boils are examples of small skin abscesses. A large abscess feels like fluid under pressure. They can cause acute pain and can become life threatening if left untreated. 

Abscesses often require both surgical and medical treatment. As drainage is an important part of treatment, the treatment will depend on such things as the location, size and stage of development of the abscess.

Most pets with an abscess are less active, particularly when they have a fever. As with any infection, your pet's activity should be limited and confinement is recommended.

Symptoms of abscess in dogs and cats:

Redness and swelling at the site

There may be discharge (pus) from the abscess

Hair may fall off (alopecia) on and around the abscess

Your animal may be lethargic and listless

Your animal may show signs of being in pain (e.g. drooling, constant attempt to lick the area, loss of appetite)

At Home Treatment:

Home treatment may include localizing the infection by clipping away the hair. Apply warm soaks for 15 minutes three times a day. Saline soaks (1 teaspoon, 10 g, of table salt to 1 quart of water), or Epsom soaks (1⁄4 cup, 33 g, of Epsom salts to 1 quart, of water) are useful.

Splinters and foreign bodies beneath the skin may create infection and must be removed.

Herbal Nutrition - (listed in order of relevance and recommendation by holistic vets - human grade meets/exceeds highest safety criteria for pets)

Herbal remedies are used holistically to help promote immunity and to help counteract abscess and infection in dogs and cats, to help limit bacterial infection, to help support tissue repair, to help promote wound healing and proper drainage, to limit help inflammation, to boost or balance immunity as needed and to support proper, balanced immune function; herbs are strongly anti-bacterial, anti-viral, antiseptic, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and some herbs are natural forms of steroids.

Seal ‘Em & Heal ‘Em – (learn more) promotes healing for all types of wounds, including hot spots, abrasions, bites, cuts, scrapes, skin irritations, infections, bleeding & hemorrhaging conditions, ulcers, GERD, esophaghitis & other degenerative conditions of the larynx & throat; provides cellular support of tissue, skin & coat; for gastrointestinal distress; as a neurasthenic that blocks the activation of nerve fibers & tissue response to inflammation, supporting the body's tissue repair mechanism to stop mutations (important in the treatment of all types of Lyme disease, including Lyme borealis, burgdorferi, borreliosis & Chronic Lyme disease (CLD); and may help remove plague and tartar upon application to help support healthy teeth and gums.

First Aid & Wound Meal Topper for Dogs and Cats* - (learn more) is used holistically to help provide relief against external and internal wounds, cuts, bites, hot spots, bites, infections, bruises, scrapes, abscess, cellulitis, allergic responses and more; as a hemostatic which may help stop bleeding on contact; may help promote collagen production, cellular repair and wound healing up to 30 times faster than without use; may help accelerate wound healing and combat infection; may be used internally or externally for bacterial, fungal and microbial infections as well as for its anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties; used holistically for its action on intestinal parasites, which are known to compromise immune health; may help as an adjunctive to help address acute and chronic diseases related to bacteria, germs, fungus and viruses, including retrovirus; cytomegalovirus; E. Coli; Staph; Bacillus subtilis and DNA and RNA viruses and as a holistic adjunctive for cases of rabies.

I Cell-Ebrate Life (learn more) helps to promote healthy cell and cell membrane support; helps promotes connective tissue, skin and coat support and antioxidant protection against free radicals, which is important in disease prevention; helps standardize normal cell operation; encourages free radical scavenging of cysts, tumors and lipomas; may help address symptoms related to Lyme disease; provides nutritional, biochemical and plant botanical support of healthy immune cells; promotes optimal immune protection and systematic health and strength; supports bone, teeth and muscle health and integrity and for animals that need extra joint, immune, circulatory and vascular support.

All Shins & Grins – (learn more) supports the skin’s ability to withstand environmental toxin, antigen and microorganism exposure due to its Vitamin C and antioxidant content; stimulates collagen production which directly affects bone mass, bone strength, cartilage, joints, muscles, connective tissues and blood vessels (important for cases of arthritis) as well as eye and teeth health (important for macular degeneration and dental disease); promotes optimal immune response; promotes strong teeth, bone, skin and coat; may help reduces allergic (acute and chronic) skin reactions and irritations, hot spots and soothes itchy skin and coat in dogs and cats; may work  to cut recovery time and prevent recurring infections and provides general mood support.

Bionic Body – (learn more) is used holistically for its adaptogenic immune boosting and anti-inflammatory support; as an antioxidant and for its free radical scavenging (disease preventing) actions; for its nutritive content which may help to nourish the body and strengthen and revitalize bones, eye, teeth, skin and coat; works to stimulate collagen production, a primary building material of bones; may  help prevent dental disease; for its plant actions to help strengthen bones, cartilage, joints, muscles, connective tissues & blood vessels & helps to reduce joint inflammation, while activating a cartilage-protective biochemical, potentially helping to preserve healthy cartilage in aging joint; for its prebiotic and probiotic content to help support native gut flora and healthy digestion; may help to fight off allergies and infections.

Conventional Remedies:

Your veterinarian should advise care on matters related to cellulitis and skin abscess. Pimples, pustules, furuncles, boils, and abscesses that do not drain spontaneously may need to be lanced by your veterinarian. If there is a sizeable cavity, your veterinarian may ask you to flush it once or twice a day using a diluted antiseptic solution such as chlorhexidine until healing is complete. Your veterinarian may place a drain in a large abscess to help speed healing. Medication must be fitted to the particular needs of your pet.

Clean the area with diluted liquid Savlon 2-3 times a day (NOT FOR CATS). Oral and injectable antibiotics may be prescribed to treat wound infections, cellulitis, abscess, and other pyodermas.

Blood tests will be performed to find out the type of bacteria that’s present in the pet’s body. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the vet will first prescribe antibiotic medications that will kill the bacteria in the body.

Medications like cephalexin, moxifloxacin, nafcillin and vanomycin are generally prescribed. If there is a large abscess present, the vet will ask you to apply warm soaks a few times a day so that the abscess drains on its own. If it doesn’t drain on its own, the vet will have to lance it and apply antibiotic medications to promote healing.

If the abscess is very large, the vet will also drain the pus completely. There may be a large cavity left behind, once the abscess is drained and your veterinarian will likely clean the area with an antiseptic medication once or twice a day.



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