Species: Dog Breed: Jack russel dachshun Age: 2-5 years
My dog has a history of hurting herself in her kennel, and a few days ago I noticed the back left side of her neck was swollen. Like a squishy fluid retention sort of way. Since then it has gotten a little bigger and firmer, but still squishy. She doesn't seem to be in pain or uncomfortable. I think she might have bumped it or something in her crate, but I'm worried it's something else. I've given her Benadryl and strapped some ice to it to see if it will go down. Is this something urgent to take her to the vet? I would rather not if I don't need to, vet's charge an arm and leg these days.
Dr. Marie replied:
This is an interesting question. It will be hard to give you a concrete answer without examining Kiki but I'll give you my thoughts.
First of all, if she doesn't seem to be bothered by this lump then I think it is ok to wait this out for a few days before seeing the vet.
A seroma is the first thing that I think of. A seroma is basically a collection of fluid that happens after some type of injury. So, if she has injured herself in the kennel then this is possible. If it is a seroma then it can take a couple of weeks to improve. Sometimes, applying a cold compress a few times a day can make a difference and help it to go down quicker. So keep up with the ice.
The next possibility is if it is an abscess. If so, there would have to have been some sort of wound to start things off. Does she fight with other dogs at all? If she has recently had a fight then I would think an abscess is more likely. An abscess will not heal without antibiotics. And, sometimes an abscess won't heal unless it is surgically opened.
The only way to tell the difference between the two would be to have your vet do an aspirate of the lump (which means to put a needle in and draw some fluid out.)
At this point if she is eating well and not obviously painful then I would keep an eye on her. But, if you notice any of the following then I would have her seen:
-lack of appetite
-if the lump seems painful
-if it is oozing pus at all
-if it is getting bigger rather than smaller
I think if there has been no change in a week or so then I would have a vet look at it.
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She plays with other, bigger dogs, but they don't fight. If she got bit it didn't break the skin. Could she get an abscess without having a sore? I forgot to mention her skin is fine. No sores or wounds.
Dr. Marie replied:
Often if there is an abscess, you may not be able to see the initial wound. The skin can heal up really quickly, but the infection can build up underneath.
So, yes, an abscess is still a possibility.
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Dr. 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.
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