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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.

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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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Open Drainage of Cysts Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Labrador Retriever

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Raised Lump

My lab has a pretty good sized red lump her leg that is leaking fluid.

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in answering, this platform is not set up for urgent emails. That is a large area, and seems to be a problem. It may be a tumor called a histiocytoma, and given the location, It would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine your pet and see what might be causing this, and let you know what treatment might help so that it does not continue to get worse.

Oct. 11, 2020

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Vizsla

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Ten Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Fluid Leaking From Incision

After Ginger had two fatty tumors removed (in same area) (left side, just in front of rear leg) She’s leaking/dipping clear fluid w/ red tinge. Surgery was 9 days ago on Monday. The incision is not torn. It’s in good shape. I don’t know what to do.

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello From what you are describing, it sounds like your pet has a seroma. A seroma is a pocket of fluid that develops after surgery. I recommend that you take your pet to a veterinarian for an exam. He may need the area drained and be started on antibiotics. Good luck.

Aug. 5, 2020

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Boxer Shepherd

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Nine Months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

I’m not sure what my dog has. But it’s a large bump on her right shoulder. It’s round and red. I went to the vet they gave me stuff to clean it, shaved the area to see it’s growth, and some antibiotics. I finished the antibiotics but the mass is still there. I’m not sure if it’s cancerous or a cyst. I don’t have the money during this pandemic to stick a needle and find out what it is. I am hoping it’s a cyst and will go away in its own but worried it could be worse. What should I do?

July 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Hello, From the picture it looks like a mass that needs to be removed or at least taken a small sample to look for cancer cells. Look into Care Credit as many vet accept this for payment for a mass removal.

July 26, 2020

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Yorkie mix

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling

My dog initially had a ball in his neck, we took it to the vet and they only gave us antibiotics and told us to just wait. 2-3months ago it opened it self and drained itself. A week ago I notice that it was almost gone. Today 7/12 I felt he had it swollen and I was trying to see and watery blood come out. I showered him, cleaned it, shaved around the area and he has an open hole where all the stuff been coming out. I put some alcohol, oxygenated water then ointment. What’s suggested to do? I’m afraid I take him again and they just return me with antibiotics.

July 13, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

I'm sorry that your dog is having problems. If that area was an abscess, he may need more antibiotics. It may have been that initially they helped, but the infection came back. It may also be a cyst that needs to be taken out, or a growth that needs attention. From your description, the best thing to do would be to have a recheck with your veterinarian, and let them look at this area now that things have changed I hope that everything goes well for your dog.

July 13, 2020

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Sherlock

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Bichon Frise

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15 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Seepage

My bichon has had a sebaceous cyst near the base of his tail for years. It finally burst but because he is almost 15 years old my vet does not want to do surgery. They have had him on two rounds of clavomox, then a round of clovomax and batril, and now cefpodoxime. The site continues to weep. Is there any thing else I can do? Other than a slow gate, he is fine.

Sept. 8, 2018

Sherlock's Owner

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Jack

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Golden Retriever

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13 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Pus
Cyst

My dog has a cyst on his back that has been draining pus for about 2 weeks. The vet does not want to operate as the dog is 13 years old. I have been cleaning it daily, but the puss keeps draining and draining. (The vet's office is not open due to Covid-19 except for emergencies.) Should I try to get the puss to drain by applying mild pressure, or just let it come out on its own time? The opening does not appear to be infected.

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Snowy

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St. Bernard

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Cyst On Tail

My 6 yr old St. Bernard (dx'ed with idiopathic epilepsy - on meds and seizures triggered by some anesthesia for prior surgeries) has developed a benign cyst on underside of tail. Cyst is large and blood filled. Happened in same area 2X now. First time finally drained and healed on it's own. This time, cyst is much larger now and blood filled and seems to be uncomfortable for dog. Dog is not chewing or biting it as covered with gauze. Once gauze is removed, showing small area of blood. I have used warm water compresses (not squeezing) on cyst where a little amount of blood has been presented. Dog seems very soothed with using wet warm compresses on cyst. As dog cannot undergo surgery for removal of cyst, can a Vet using a sterile tool open the cyst a tiny amount to help drain and remove pressure from cyst. I realize this will not remove cyst permanently, but due to extreme sensitivities of some anesthesias used, this would be considered a risk by Vet.Pls advise for treatment.

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Spike

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Chiweenie

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

My Chiweenie had what we thought was a lipoma on the back of his neck for months. Last night I was feeling it and it popped. It was a cyst. The drainage was white and grayish with black flecks. Not liquid, like puss. I tried to get more of the contents out tonight, but it’s uncomfortable for him. Ive been putting antibiotic ointment on it. What else should I do. It’s not completely drained.

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Rex

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Rottweiler

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12 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding/Leaking , Cyst

I have a 12 year old Rottweiler, Rex. A few years ago the vet said he had a cyst in his arm pit area. Once in a while it would open and drain. It seems as of lately though it is getting bigger and continuously bleeding/leaking. I alsothink he may have bit it open as I believe its getting bigger. The spot its in makes it very hard to get a bandage on it and every day, or every other day, there outs blood on the floor in small amounts. Is there any way to get it to stop bleeding? Or any advice at all would honestly be helpful. I feel like I've tried every thing and I don't know what else to do.

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Lanie

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Border Collie

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10 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

My dog had a small lump on her neck, about the size of a grape, the bet did not seem concerned. Said it was most likely a fluid filled or fatty cyst and if I noticed it getting bigger to let them know. I took her in for her annual exam and had them check her neck to be sure it was okay and they couldn’t find it. It had completely disappeared! (I checked too). She also lost some weight at that point from playing outside all day during the summer months. Fast forward about 5 months and I noticed her lump was back. I kept watching it to be sure it did not get bigger. One day I noticed it was bigger and visible on her neck (never was before) and about the size of a golf ball. Today I noticed she had fluid leaking from her neck so I checked it. Clear fluid, not fatty or anything. It just looked like water, no blood. She seems normal, eating and drinking fine and playing as usual. Should I be concerned that it burst or is this normal of maybe she rolled around on it or something?

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