First Walk is on Us!

✓ GPS tracked walks
✓ Activity reports
✓ On-demand walkers
Book FREE Walk

Jump to Section

What are Open Drainage of Cysts?

A cyst is a large, abnormal sac within the body that is typically filled with fluid or pus. Cysts are typically caused by a bacterial infection or blockage of any of the body's many glands and ducts. Although commonly mistaken for tumors, cysts are benign and non-life-threatening (although some may be unsightly or uncomfortable). Vets will typically opt to use a needle to drain the fluid from these vessels, although sometimes, it will be necessary to perform a procedure known as 'open drainage' on the cyst.

Book First Walk Free!

Open Drainage of Cysts Procedure in Dogs

Due to the invasive nature of the operation, the vet will usually place the dog under a general anesthetic and shave the site where they plan to make the incision. Next, using a scalpel, they will cut through the intervening tissues to reach the cyst, which they will carefully slice open. The cyst can then either be allowed to drain by itself into a pan, or suction can be applied to remove the contents. After the cyst is drained, most vets will opt to remove it entirely (especially if it has become infected). The incision is then sutured closed and the dog allowed to awaken.

Efficacy of Open Drainage of Cysts in Dogs

Open drainage will alleviate the symptoms associated with a cyst almost immediately. If the cyst has become infected (and the infection has spread) then antibiotics will be required, but the noticeable swelling and inflammation should start to ebb away right after surgery. 

Open Drainage of Cysts Recovery in Dogs

Immediately after surgery, the dog will require painkillers to alleviate any obvious discomfort. Depending on the location of the cyst that was drained, the dog may also need to be fitted with an E-collar to prevent it from tearing out its own sutures. It may also be required that the owner tries to keep exercise to a minimum until the wound is healed. Fortunately, as most cysts tend to occur in the sebaceous glands of the skin, the surgical wound will often not be especially deep and will heal in just over a month. If a serious infection was involved, however, the dog will also need to complete a full course of antibiotics, which will usually take about two to four weeks. The vet may also wish to schedule some follow-up visits to ensure that the surgical incision is healing correctly and the underlying condition is clearing up.

Cost of Open Drainage of Cysts in Dogs

The normal price for open drainage of most cysts can be expected to fall roughly around $250. Depending on location, however, the price may increase further. Draining cysts located on the kidneys, for instance, may cost $400 or more due to the added complexity of the operation.

Dog Open Drainage of Cysts Considerations

Although a very potent means for dealing with problem cysts, open drainage is not without risks. Elderly dogs (who coincidentally are some of the main sufferers of cysts) are especially at risk of cardiovascular failure when placed under general anesthetic, which may cause some owners to think twice before opting for the surgery. Another potential pitfall is the potential for infection of the incision site, though this can be counteracted by making sure the dog's living environment is thoroughly cleaned when they return from the clinic.

Open Drainage of Cysts Prevention in Dogs

While cysts that occur deep within the body are normally the result of genetic predisposition, sebaceous cysts are somewhat avoidable. They are typically caused by blockages of the sebaceous duct and damage to the hair follicle itself. By making sure a dog's living area meets a good standard of hygiene and by properly grooming and maintaining its coat, an owner can mitigate the risk of cysts developing. 

Open Drainage of Cysts Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Basset Hound
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Cyst (benign)

My 14yr old dog has a benign cyst on her tail. She can't go under anesthesia, so how do I treat it at home? It opens up and bleeds and closes back up. It's been ongoing for about a year now. Thx in advance for any advice you can help me with..

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1823 Recommendations
Without having the option of surgery, I can only suggest to keep it clean and free of debris when it opens up as well as applying an antibiotic ointment to the area regularly. It may be possible to freeze the cyst (with local), but this would need to be discussed with your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Honey's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Shepherd mix
12 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

walks slowly and doesn't run
Balance Loss

My vet is going to surgically remove a fatty tumor from the inside abdominal area in front of her hip in my 12 year old Shepherd and have an open drain. I'm worried . She recently developed a heart murmur. Am I making the right decision to remove tumor?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1823 Recommendations

Heart murmurs vary in severity on a scale of one to six; your Veterinarian is responsible to make an informed decision which is in the best interest of their patient. It is normal to have dogs on a daily basis for surgery which have heart murmurs so I wouldn’t be too concerned. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Harley's experience

Was this experience helpful?