Abscesses develop when skin is punctured and the surface heals, but debris is left under the skin and it becomes infected.
Pustules are small, pus-filled blisters that may grow between an animal’s toes.
Prevent abscesses by removing embedded material and disinfecting the area.
Abscesses can be mild and easily treated, but they can also be deadly. They’re especially common in cats. If you suspect your pet may have a serious infection, contact your veterinarian. If, however, the wound is minor, or you suspect a sliver, see Punctures and Slivers.
Herbal and Naturopathic Help
As with any kind of infection, boosting the animal’s immune system helps with recovery. Feeding a healthy diet is the best way to give your pet a healthy immune system. See Natural Diet. Other preventative measures you can take are avoiding the overuse of antibiotics, corticosteroids, and vaccines. We realize that antibiotics have a place in medicine, but their overuse has caused problems. Unfortunately, antibiotics and steroids are dispensed like candy from most veterinary clinics. It’s important that you discuss these issues with a holistic veterinarian who has specifically studied fields such as immunology and nutrition.
Vitamin C has been a long time infection fighter for good reason. Give 250mg of vitamin C per ten pounds of body weight once a day. Echinacea is also helpful. And goldenseal can be beneficial when there is inflammation or fever. The normal body temperature of a dog or cat is about 101.5°F. Anything below 100°F and above 103°F is cause for concern and you ought to contact your holistic veterinarian.
Grapefruit seed extract may also be helpful. Give one capsule per ten pounds of body weight twice per day for two days, then once per day for seven days.
If there is fur in the area, shave it. Disinfect as best as you can with povidone-iodine (Betadine).
If a splinter or other object is visible, remove it with sterile tweezers. If embedded material remains, apply a poultice of Slippery Elm or Lobelia to pull the material from the wound or substitute a hot compress of wheat grass juice, oatstraw, or plantain tea. See Poultices in the First Aid section. If the animal’s temperament or the area of the wound makes it difficult to keep a poultice fastened, apply a thick layer of salve made with plantain and any of the aforementioned herbs. Change the poultice or salve regularly to help draw out embedded objects and pus. Placing a drop of essential oil of lavender on the abscess before applying the poultice can help with the extraction.
For pustules between the toes, directly apply a drop of grapefruit seed extract. This may also help with abscesses.
If the puncture is tended to immediately, Lachesis muta 30c may prevent an infection. Give one pellet every four hours a total of three times.
If the abscess has developed, use Hepar sulph 30c every four hours for three treatments.
If the abscess has burst, or is about to, give Silica 6x every four hours for twenty four hours.