Dog Abscess Treatment With Clindamycin

A dog abscess can develop quickly and cause your dog a lot of discomfort, but with clindamycin, the infection could clear up in less than two weeks. Some abscesses will heal on their own but if your dog needs help fighting an infection, your vet might prescribe clindamycin to help.

What Are Dog Abscesses?

An abscess forms when your dog's body sends white blood cells to the wound in order to fight the infection. When the white blood cells die, collectively they form pus. The body creates a fibrous capsule around the infected area to keep it contained and this forms the abscess.

Abscesses can occur anywhere on the body that becomes injured. This includes internally as well as outside the body. Abscesses around the anal, prostrate or mammary glands, skin wounds, eyes and oral cavity are most common. However, it is also possible for dogs to develop internal abscesses on organs, although these are very rare.

Abscesses develop quickly - usually over a couple of days - and are hard to the touch. They are an infection, so they could cause your dog discomfort or pain. If the abscess doesn't rupture, your dog may experience hair loss around the wound. If it does rupture, the wound might leak foul-smelling fluid.

How Are Dog Abscesses Caused?

Dog abscesses are caused by a number of factors. These include:

  • Dog bites
  • Other wounds
  • Foreign objects, for instance, splinters
  • Bacteria that live naturally on the skin, like Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Pseudomonas and E.coli

How Clindamycin Can Help

Clindamycin is an antibiotic. It is used to fight infections, especially dental disease, oral infections and abscesses. The drug is one of the few available that can be used in both humans and animals. However, you should never give your dog clindamycin meant for humans as the dosage will be wrong.

Clindamycin works by slowing the growth and synthesis of proteins. This suppresses the growth of bacteria and gives the body's white blood cells a chance to kill the infection. The antibiotic can only be prescribed by your vet and comes in the form of capsules or an oral suspension (liquid).

It is important to continue the prescribed course of clindamycin to the end. Even if the infection seems to have cleared up beforehand, stopping the medication before the course is finished could cause the infection to return and make it more difficult to cure in the future.

Clindamycin Side Effects

Like all antibiotics, clindamycin is safe when used as prescribed by your vet, but it may cause side effects. These include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive salivation (the liquid formulation doesn't taste very good)

Aside from the last side effect, you should consult your vet if your dog exhibits any of these symptoms. They may be a sign that it is necessary for your dog to stop taking the medication, but always get a vet's opinion first. If your dog is prescribed a long course of clindamycin, regular liver and kidney tests are recommended.

Although clindamycin can cause side effects in some animals it is generally safe to use, and is an effective treatment against abscesses and other infections.