Breed: Cocker Spaniel
Age: 3 months
Stanley came to see us in July 2018. His owners had noticed a large lump on the left side of his head just above his eye. The swelling was roughly half the size of his head and reached back to his ear. The swelling felt soft which suggested to the Vet that there was fluid inside of it. Stanley was showing signs of discomfort if the swelling was touched and when his mouth was opened. He was given an anti-inflammatory injection and advised to come back in the morning to explore the swelling further with diagnostic imaging.
The following day Stanley came to stay with us for a sedation and ultrasound of the swelling. It was a very difficult area to scan but Stanley was very well behaved under the sedation. Some samples of the fluid in the swelling were tested in our in-house laboratory. The results of this testing confirmed the presence of inflammation and bacterial infection. This suggested the presence of a foreign body inside the swelling or a wound. On the ultrasound scan our vet Matteo was able to see a very small white line which looked very much like a grass seed and so we were confident that this swelling was an abscess caused by a grass seed. The grass seed was quite deep under the skin and possibly even into the muscle. Our vets tried to locate it through a small incision on top of the abscess however it was extremely difficult to get to and we were unable to reach it. The plan was to send Stanley home with some anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotics to try and reduce the swelling. The incision was left open to allow the abscess to drain, hopefully allowing the grass seed to also come out.
Stanley came back 4 days after the procedure with a vet to check his progress. The swelling had reduced since he was first seen however there was still pus present. The vet re-opened the incision as it had healed and drained more pus from the abscess. As there was still pus it was likely the grass seed was still in there. Stanley was very bright and happy, it was decided he should continue with all of his medications and be checked again in 5 days. At this check the abscess was more defined suggesting the grass seed had moved out of the muscle and into the abscess space. A repeat ultrasound was conducted and confirmed that this was the case.
Stanley was placed under a general anaesthetic to allow a full investigation of the abscess. The grass seed was located and removed and the wound flushed with sterile fluid. A drain was placed in the space which had previously been filled with pus to allow any fluid to drain away instead of building up again in the empty space. Stitches were placed around the drain to hold it in place. Whilst Stanley had this in place he needed to stay at the clinic so he could be closely monitored and receive additional pain relief. The following day he was doing really well. He was very bright and was not irritated by the drain. Small amounts of fluid were still draining from the wound so it was decided he should stay in for one more day. Two days after the procedure the wound was producing much less fluid so in the afternoon the drain was removed. He was able to go home that evening with a buster collar to protect the wound and his antibiotics and pain relief.
At home Stanley did really well. He seemed very comfortable and had no issues when he came in for his first post op check. One week after the surgery Stanley was able to have his stitches removed. The wound had healed really well and the swelling gone. He was able to have the buster collar off and go back to his normal life. One month later he came back in to see the nurse for a weigh and worm appointment and you could not tell he had had any problem at all!