Cellulitis and Skin Abscess
Cellulitis is an infection involving the skin and subcutaneous tissue. A skin abscess is a localized pocket of pus beneath the epidermis. Pimples, pustules, furuncles, and boils are examples of small skin abscesses. A large abscess feels like fluid under pressure.
An area affected by cellulitis will be tender to pressure, feel hotter than normal, not be as soft as it would normally be, and appear redder than normal. 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 to contain the infection.
Most cases are caused by puncture wounds, deep scratches, bites, and lacerations. Splinters and foreign bodies beneath the skin are a continuing source of infection and must be removed.
Diagnosis is made by physical examination.
Localize the infection by clipping away the hair. Apply warm soaks for 15 minutes 3 times daily. Saline soaks (1 teaspoon (10g) of table salt to 1 quart (1 liter) of water), or epsom soaks (1/4 cup (33g) of epsom salts to 1 quart (1 liter) of water) are useful.
Pimples, pustules furuncles, boils, and abscesses that do not drain spontaneously may need to be lanced by your vet. If there is a sizable cavity, your vet may ask you to flush it once or twice a day using a dilute antiseptic surgical solution such as chlorhexidine until healing is complete. Your vet may place a drain in a large abscess to help speed healing.
Oral and injectable antibiotics may be prescribed to treat wound infections, cellulitis, abscess, and other pyodermas.
Cellulitis can often be prevented by properly treating wounds.
Please contact your veterinarian for assistance with this condition.
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