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Bump after fight.

Species: Dog
Breed: Puggle
Age: 2-5 years
My dog got attacked by another dog 4 days ago during a walk. The other dog was on a leash, they sniffed at each other, and then the other dog grabbed my dog by the back of the neck and the dog walker had to wrestle him off. My dog is about 35 lbs, the other dog was slightly bigger.
There was no bleeding or breaking of the skin.
Now, 4 days later, Fillmore has a big fleshy knot under the skin on his neck, about the width of a tennis ball, which is probably the width of the other dog's mouth. It doesn't seem to be bothering him at all- it's not sore- you can grab it and he doesn't even notice. I'm just a bit alarmed at this swelling coming up a few days later after there was initially nothing. Do I need to take him in? Should I see if this other dog is up on his immunizations? Like I said, otherwise he's fine. Thanks!


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I can think of two things that this could be.

The first possibility is that this is an abscess. An abscess would be an infection under the skin. There would have to be some type of penetration by a tooth for this to happen. Sometimes it can look like there is no wound, but a tiny wound can hide from view.

The next possibility is that this is something called a seroma. A seroma is a collection of fluid underneath the skin. If your dog was bitten and there was some trauma to the area then a seroma is possible. A seroma will heal on its own but may take a couple of weeks to get better.

The only way to tell the difference between an abscess and a seroma is to have your vet put a needle in the area and draw some cells or fluid out. It should be quite obvious if it is a seroma or an abscess. If it is an abscess then he's going to need some antibiotics. Some abscesses won't heal unless they are surgically opened up and drained.

I would advise that you have him checked out. It doesn't have to be an emergency tonight, but I would do it in the next day if possible. If this is an abscess and we wait too long then the abscess can spread. Waiting could mean the difference between healing with antibiotics or needing an expensive surgery.

It's very unlikely that you need to worry about the other dog's vaccinations. The only virus that is transmissible via a bite from dog to dog is rabies and this is very unlikely. Dogs with rabies show neurological signs and not a swelling like you have described.

Hope everything heals up well!

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Both possibilities make sense. I'll call for an appointment tomorrow. Thanks!!


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.