Lab with lump that is oozing

Our question this week was:

Our 1-year-old lab got a small lump on her belly on Saturday, just popped up, by Sunday it had doubled in size and by Monday when I called the vet it had tripled. We went in to the vet and he noticed a small red dot on her belly close to the lump but not on it. He put her on antibiotics and asked us to put warm compresses on her belly each night.

We have done the compresses and antibiotics, but this morning (Thursday) I went to check her belly and the head has ruptured and blood and very smelly puss is coming out. The lump is about half the size, but still quite hard and there is a purplish circle around the head, which is open. My vet cannot work us in until tomorrow I would love some guidance, ideas on what this could be, and if my vet cannot work her in should we take her somewhere else?

Gabrielle Mellon


Hi Gabrielle– thanks for your email. It sounds to me like the lump was an abscess. It is common for an abscess to start as a lump then eventually break open and start to ooze/drain pus. The pus is often very smelly.

The antibiotics and the fact that it is open and draining is very good. I'd recommend that you gently clean around the area at least twice a day (more is even better). This sounds like a pretty typical abscess progression. Your vet will probably check it and if it is draining well, have you continue with the antibiotics, compresses and cleaning the area until it is healed. It may take 7 to 10 days for it to resolve.

If possible – you can even massage around the area to keep the pus flowing. Of course –be careful, as this are may be tender. Some dogs are very good about this and other will show aggression if something hurts. I don't want you to get bit so please be careful. If your dog is aggressive, leave it be and see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

If the draining is getting on your floors – you can use a toddlers type t-shirt on some dogs. You can put their head through the head hole and their front legs through the arm holes. The toddler size is often long which may cover the area. You can easily change them out and wash them. They often come in a 3 pack cheap at discount stores.

An article that might be helpful to you is Abscess in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

To read most recent questions Click here!

Click here to see the full list of Ask Dr. Debra Questions and Answers!