Friday, March 13, 2015

Seroma, The Pocket of Fluid to Keep Quiet



This is Molly, a bouncy and bubbly six month old Rottweiler who was spayed at our veterinary clinic about a week ago.

I talk often about how important it is to have a good history and a guardian who is attentive and watchful. It really can make all the difference in the world when you want a fast and economical diagnosis, which is imperative to tailor a successful (and the most affordable)  treatment plan.

Molly's mom noticed a baseball sized soft fluid filled "bump" at her spay incision site a day ago and brought her in to see me.


I have spoken about masses, lumps, and bumps often here. I always stress how important it is to not diagnose them based on a photo. You see a patient is more than the bump they are attached to. They are the storyteller to your puzzling problem. To find the answers quickly it is helpful to have a medical record, a loving pet guardian who pays attention, and a vet who is a part of your pets short and long term care.

Here is how I approached Molly's water balloon looking belly bump:

1. History: Spayed two weeks ago here. It is very helpful to know who spayed her, what surgical protocols were used, and how the patient did during their surgery. This is available through the patients record and the surgeon. This is hugely important when you think about where to have your pets care provided. There are lots of wonderful surgical facilities around us, but knowing this information is extremely helpful for any post-operative questions or concerns.

2. Examination: Molly doesn't seem to like either restraint, nor, me touching her belly. This is where the benefit of an inpatient examination and not diagnosing from a photo has the real value of a good client-patient relationship. Molly was bright, playful, had a normal temperature (very helpful in assessing infection) and seemed to be acting completely normally..but that belly bump needed to be classified and Molly wasn't convinced that this was any fun.


A wiggly girl is somewhat difficult to assess with just your hands. Every time I touched her belly she got tense. When palpating we use our fingers to "feel" for texture, consistency, and help our head decide what our hands are seeing.

The big dilemma with these cases are;

1. Is the incision (both the abdominal wall and the skin incision intact? This can only be assessed by your vet. There are two layers that are incised to get into the abdomen; the skin, and the muscle of the abdomen. These are ALWAYS sutured closed separately and must be assessed independently by a vet. If the skin incision is opening we often will staple or glue the edges closed, and place a e-collar to curb the pet form licking or chewing it open any further. BUT, if the abdominal wall is opening we go have to go back in and close it. If you don't the intestines can spill out of the abdomen and get trapped between the layers. Intestines are squeezing, flexing, highly active tubes, like writhing, slithering tentacles. They get into trouble if not kept contained. They twist on themselves and strangulate. This can lead to death of the intestines and cause death to the pet.

2. If these incisions are intact where is the fluid coming from?

I could palpate Molly's incisions and knew that they were all still completely intact. She did allow me to do this. She was however not so patient with my fingers probing her belly fluid pocket.

If she was a quiet patient I would have summised based on all of her clinical findings that she did not have an infection.... but she kept squirming and protesting to my probing... so I did the next best thing.... I drew off a sample.



This is what we call "serosanguinous" fluid, or blood tinged serum.


And, now Molly had a diagnosis; Molly had a seroma. A seroma occurs after a surgery has been done. The body planes (the example here is the abdominal wall and the skin layers) have been separated and the body doesn't like empty or dead space so it tries to 'fill it in' by adding fluid. The result is a collection of fluid between the layers of skin and muscle. It should be 'quiet' or non-painful, soft fluid, without heat or other signs of infection associated with it.

My treatment of choice for a seroma is to just leave it alone. The body will slowly reabsorb the fluid and it will eventually shrink until it looks completely like it was never there to begin with. It is in essence a cosmetic lesion until this happens. This resolution of the seroma can take weeks and should be monitored for infection during this time.

Some people think that drains being placed to allow the fluid to drain continuously are a good option, but, I am not a big drain fan. Drains allow stuff to crawl and seep into the space that is now sterile and clean. The whole point of all of this detective work was to identify infection, and now we are going to leave a highway open for it? These days I only place drains to remove infection. Another point to consider is that the body will often keep making fluid if there is a space to fill, so the drains allow the body to keep the fluid factory in business. That is a big mess to deal with for about two weeks. If we attempted to put a needle into the seroma and pull off all of the fluid it will refill in a few hours,, so this is almost always futile. There are a few occasions that you cannot outsmart or speed up what the body wants to do. You just have to let it heal on its own and on its own time.



Molly's plan is to keep an eye and a hand on her incisional seroma daily. If anything changes, to include her behavior, activity level, or eating enthusiasm we will re-check her. Like all of my patients she left with a plan  and my email.

Molly's spay cost was; $250.
Her re-check was free, (we usually do not charge for post-operative rechecks of our patients).

Post publishing note; I receive many inquiries on Pawbly about this condition.
Here is my advice;

  • Your vet should be seasoned and comfortable helping you manage this. 
  • It is my firm opinion that drains are not indicated to correct it, and, that they have potential to do more harm than good. 
  • If your pet has a seroma after a routine surgery (say a spay) it is most likely because the vet undermined excessive subcutaneous tissue. I do not believe it is the clients responsibility to pay for post op complications if the vet is at fault. This is a tricky thing to prove, BUT, a responsible and experienced vet has a much less likelihood to cause a seroma. Ask about your vets experience level before surgery. If you use a high volume clinic you are responsible for any post-op complications. It is the inherent risk of not knowing your vet. Seromas are in my experience a novice surgeons complication. (This applies to routine surgeries).
  • Diagnose before guessing. Your vet is there for this. Make them a wager at the beginning of your exam. Let it go something like this,, "Doc, before you stick that needle in that want to make me a wager? If it is a seroma from the surgery she had here I am not paying for this exam. Right?" Now mind you You should be willing to promise that you kept her quiet post-op.
  • After the diagnosis of a seroma it is not realistic or in the best interest to restrict a pet to a cage. I know this advice is provided often, but it is not fair to the healthy active pet. A seroma IS NOT A CONSEQUENCE of a failure of the sutured incision. These pets should not dehisce. They need monitoring, quiet activities without over exertion BUT the post-op instructions should not be any different than the patients who don't have a seroma. Cage rest makes everyone crazy UNLESS they are systemically ill or the suture/incision, or closure is in jeopardy. 
  • If your vet is asking you to pay for a drain ask them for an explanation, discuss the size of the incision, the difficulty of the surgery and understand why and how this happened. If finances are tight decline the drain IF your pet is happy, healthy and acting normally.
  • Expect the seroma to take weeks to resolve. 
  • Let your pets attitude and behavior dictate if more invasive treatments are warranted or needed.


If you have a pet question of any sort you can find me trying to educate and inspire other pet people at Pawbly.com. Pawbly is a free open community built around all things pet. Please visit and share your pet knowledge with others.

I am also on Twitter @FreePetAdvice and at the clinic, Jarrettsville Vet in Jarrettsville Maryland.

82 comments:

  1. Great article! About how long should a seroma last?

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    Replies
    1. Hello Corey,
      They can last days to weeks. As long as your pet is acting normally and it is not looking like infection I leave it alone.
      Hope this helps.
      Please join me at Pawbly.com if you have additional questions.

      Delete
    2. It can last MONTHS. I am currently experiencing a post op seroma in my female Bulldog that endured a surgical procedure for a thoracic mast cell tumor involving several planes of muscle. Do NOT drain a seroma! It's now been 3 weeks and what was a "grapefruit" is now a "potatoe". The body absorbs.

      Delete
    3. Thank you RJ! I appreciate you sharing your experience and advice.. all my best to your pup. Krista

      Delete
  2. Is it normal for one to come back the day after it was drained?

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  3. Thanks for this article! Our puppy is going through this after being spayed last week and the vet said to completely restrict her exercise and apply a warm compress 2x per day. Do you agree? Also should we leave her cone on until the seroma finally disappears?

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    Replies
    1. I think that this isn't bad advice. But I also think that if it is truly a seroma that the compress won't do anything (it won't harm and has negligible chance of helping). And quieter is always safer than running around like a wild child.
      Good Luck.
      If you ever have a pet question please ask it free on Pawbly.com I will answer quicker there.

      Delete
  4. Hi. My vet thinks my dog has a seroma following a patella luxation surgery but it was 8 wks ago, the swelling is not at the site of the incision, but on the joint itself and it feels hard as bone. She isn't using the leg at all so it is causing discomfort. Every article I read suggests that a seroma would be under the sutures and would be soft to touch...is it possible that a seroma could present like this? Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Hello,
      A seroma should not be hard (or very hard), painful, or cause a clinical sign. If you are concerned about this diagnosis seek a second opinion. I do not mess around, wait, or postpone getting answers from a post surgery joint problem. Not using the leg would be worrisome for me.

      Delete
  5. Hello. My 11 week old pup was grabbed by the neck by another persons dog while I was walking her. My pup is doing ok now and the other dog did not break the skin on my pup. But it's a day later and my pup has a bubble similar to the one described here. Could this be a seroma? And how can I treat it or help reduce the size of this tennis ball sized bubble on the back of her neck?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      I would be very worried that this is infection versus a seroma. If your vet has ruled this out, I would still watch it for any signs of subcutaneous emphysema. Subq emphysema feels like bubble wrap under the skin versus a fluid pocket.
      My dog had a seroma after a mass removal. It took about a month to go away.

      Delete
    2. P.S. please use Pawbly.com for questions. They will be answered faster there. it is free to use

      Delete
  6. My dog developed a tennis ball sized seroma about 10 days after a dog bite. The vet checked it and drained it, found it was a seroma and put him on antibiotics. It has been 5 days on anti-b and dog is fine but no change in the size of the seroma. We are restricting exercise as was recommended. The dog is happy, eating and all appears normal. How long should we expect this large seroma take to disappear or reabsorbed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It took my dog about a month to resolve. Keep your eye and fingers on it and call the vet if anything changes or seems concerning.

      Delete
  7. Hi, my bitch was spayed almost 2 weeks ago. At her post-op check last Thursday, they found that the spay site had herniated, which she had repaired on Friday. She was very lively when I collected her on Friday evening, and I noticed a small pocket of what looked like fluid on either side of her incision. She has been crated since we got home, with the exception of toilet ting which has been done on the lead. Now the incision is leaking what looks to be serous fluid, it is a steady drip. She is fine in herself, eating as normal, no vomiting or diarrhoea and the fluid is not smelly
    Can I leave it until her post-op check tomorrow or do I need to take her to the emergency vet?
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      If she is acting normally and it is not bleeding it is probably safe to wait. A belly bandage (not too tight) can help stop the leaking.
      Please use Pawbly.com for questions. It is free to use and you will get an answer much quicker.

      Delete
  8. My retriever mix had a fatty tumor removed from her shoulder almost two weeks ago. After 12 or 13 days in the e-collar, she had the stitches removed yesterday, and I noticed some apparent swelling at the site last night. I took her to the vet again this afternoon, and after drawing a sample of some fluid that seemed to resemble plasma, she diagnosed it as a seroma. She attached a bandage and said the pressure from the bandage should help keep it down, and I should try to leave the bandage on for a few days, if possible, to help keep it down. I had her in the e-collar this afternoon when I returned to work, but took it off tonight since she seemed to be leaving the bandage alone. I just noticed she had pulled the bandage off of the site. I can try to put another one on, or I suppose I can follow your advice and just leave it alone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think there is a wrong answer as long as you are comfortable repalcing the wrap... too tight is going to cause more harm than it will help. Call your vet as soon as possible. If your pet is acting fine and the incision looks good you should be fine until morning. Please find me for faster answers at pawbly.com it is free

      Delete
  9. My boxer/mix had surgery to repair her luxating patella 22 days ago and in the past few days I have noticed a pocket of fluid that has developed right over her patella. It is not related to her incision what so ever. She seems bothered by it when I touch it.

    Do most vets choose not to drain?
    Is there anything that can be done to help the fluid reabsorb?
    Could it cause any damage being there for a few weeks before it is resolved on it's own vs draining it?
    I am worried about how the rest of her healing will go if fluid and pressure are built up around her knee. Can it cause more damage?


    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      Have you spoken to the vet who did the patella surgery? Start there. If it is a seroma I wouldnt worry too much. Typically these dont cause long term problems or inhibit healing. BUT the seroma has to be diagnosed by your vet.
      Best of luck

      Delete
  10. Hello, I noticed how helpful and knowledgeable you seem to be and thought I would ask a question. I tried pawbly.com first but the site says its being reconstructed or something, so figured id ask here.

    Our dog had luxating patella surgery about 6 weeks ago and has been healing just fine the last few weeks. He has started to use his leg a lot more recently and we have been told its time for rehabilitation. So we walk him 3 or 4 times a day for about 5-10min each time. We also let him out of his enclosure for a few hours throughout the day since the vet said that should be fine as long as he isnt running and jumping. Well, last night, he decided he felt good enough to jump up into the chair and then back down. Though I was concerned, he didnt seem to act like that hurt his leg at all and seemed to use it as well as he has been the rest of the night. This morning, he didnt seem to be bothered at all(not more than usual in the morning as he seems to use it less first thing) but I notced a ping pong ball size lump on his knee right under the incision site.

    Does this seem like it could be a seroma? Would his jump into the chair have caused it or could it just be coincidence?

    Thanks for your time!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      Yes, Pawbly is down.. sorry for the inconvenience, we are working to get it back up soon.
      This is hard to answer without seeing and feeling (and even perhaps taking a sample of the fluid? pocket). It certainly could be related to the jumping. I really think that you should call your vet (or the surgeon) as soon as possible to make sure that everything is healing normally.
      As long as he is not bothered by the knee, incision, or bump I think you are probably fine to wait until normal business hours on Monday.
      Best of luck

      Delete
  11. Thanks so much for this information. My dog sustained a blunt force injury to the chest two weeks ago. The xrays were all normal....and Nico is feeling much better. But now he has a baseball size seroma. I had never seen one so went right away to the vet, worried that something horrible was going on. She diagnosed a seroma and drained it. She said that if it refilled that we should put in a tube for drainage. That just didn't make sense to me. I feel like his body is doing what it is supposed to do. Well, it did refill with fluid quite quickly. After much googling, I found your article. Thank you sooo much for it. I think I'll wait and watch it and suggest to the vet that we not put a shunt in. At this point there is no infection and he seems to be very happy. I wonder though, can a seroma get infected and turn into an abcess? The fluid that they drained was sterile. There was no puncture wound...just a small scrape. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      I am glad that you found this blog helpful,, BUT I don't want you (or anyone else) to use an internet search or material to supplant your vets advice. Not that I am a proponent of draining (I am NOT), but you need your vet in your corner for the rainy days ahead. Maybe you could politely ask about NOT draining it? Or waiting to see what happens? Just so they don't get their feelings hurt?
      And yes a seroma can turn into an abscess (especially if it keeps being poked or proded). An abscess is painful, can cause fever, and will likely cause your pet to show you that it hurts. Abscesses are warm too. So typically it is easy to diagnose an abscess versus a quiet seroma.
      I hope this helps..and I hope that you understand that I dont want to jeopardize your vets desire to help you and your pet.
      best of luck!
      thank you for reading
      Krista

      Delete
    2. Of course, i know that you are offering your opinion and are not giving direct medical advice. And I promise you, I will stay connected with my vet. But now I understand a bit more about seromas and can use the information i read here to formulate my questions and concerns about her putting in a shunt. I don't want a shunt. But I will discuss with her. Thanks again for sharing your perspective.

      Delete
    3. Thanks Mary,
      Very best to you all!

      Delete
    4. Thanks Mary,
      Very best to you all!

      Delete
  12. This has been so helpful (in addition to our vet who saw our dog yesterday, one week after removing the drain from her original surgical site from dog attack injuries). I now know her seroma may be around for potentially weeks and was worried it wasn't gone in days. Unfortunately, because she has the saggy skin of a sharpei, the fluid hangs away from her body and I wonder if her body will EVER absorb it? Thanks for the very helpful information.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. time heals all wounds, even seromas! ;-)

      Delete
  13. This article made me feel better but I am still worried about our guy. About 6-7 months ago (yes MONTHS) we took our mastiff in for routine vaccines. The vet pricked himself on accident then inserted the same needle into our dog :( a day later a huge sac filled up in between his shoulder blades. We took him back extremely scared he was going a reaction to the vaccine. The vet was so awful to us. He charged us another $150 to drain the site -- said it had nothing to do with him pricking himself first but that "it was a nice thought". And that if it filled back up it would heal on it owns. Well here we are months later and this thing is still HUGE. I mean he size of three or four baseballs huge :( it hasn't gone down at all. It doesn't bother our guy but I can't help but worry. He looks like a hunchback dog and I hate it. Why is it taking so long??? And the vet showed me the fluid when he drained it and diagnosed it there as a Seroma.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      I am sorry to hear about your bad experience. I will confess that the time frame seems excessive. And I do think that at this point you should seek help from a vet you trust (ask a friend for a recommendation) and have the seroma rechecked.
      Lastly, if it is a seroma try to be patient and not be upset about cosmetics. Clients make poor decisions based on cosmetics. A happy healthy healing pet is all that really matters.
      Best of Luck

      Delete
  14. Good day.

    Thank you for all your advice to the many questions posted to you, great to see a vet that is so willing to give gis time to keep animal lovers informed.

    I have a 15 month old female yorkie, she was spayed when she was 6 months old, since the surgery she has these hard bumps inder the scars which i assume are the staples or sutures, and dont concern me as all the dogs ive had had these bumps after being spayed, but recently (3 days ago) i noticed a soft lump about the size of a almond on her stomach right at the top of her scar from being spayed, its not hard, its soft and when i touch it it feels like its filled with fluid, she shows no discomfort when i touch it, and it seems to go smaller sometimes, based on the information i have read here it points to a seroma that has formed, but is it possible or normal for a seroma to form 7 months after her surgery, or is it possibly a hernia?

    She shows no discomfort or pain, and there has been no change in her behavior, she is as lively and active as ever especialy when playing with our other yorkie.

    How concerned should i be, keeping in mind that its small, and doesnt seem to bother her?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      It is possible, but not as likely. If you were my client I would ask you to bring her in for me to feel and possibly even aspirate. I would also happily answer any of your questions or concerns about the type of suture used to close the abdomen. In the old days there were many vets who used stainless steel suture or staples to close the tissue. Needless to say this stuff sticks around forever (great help when a found pet is being assessed as to whether it is already spayed).

      Delete
  15. Hello. Thanks for your very informative article.
    My foster dog is a 12-13 year old Pit Bull mix that we recently rescued. She had never been spayed and had several extremely large and heavy mammary tumors as a result. Her X-rays were clear for metastasis, so our vet elected to remove the tumors and spay her at the same time. She ended up having both mammary chains completely removed, and the surgery had complications.
    She seems to be out of the woods now, but has developed a very large seroma on pretty much her entire belly. I had expected that because of the amount of tissue removed, but now as of about 2 weeks post op, her seroma is still steadily growing causing more and more tension on her skin, and it noticeably more larger and swollen each day. Is this normal for such an extensive surgery? And would you recommend draining it in this case?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      Based on your description I would recommend the following;
      Ask your vet these questions. In some of my more difficult and intense cases (yours qualifies) I monitor them almost daily. With the advent on handheld devices I do some of these rechecks over Skype. I do everything in my power to avoid draining. Heres why; that faucet of fluid production is not going to stop. It just gets lost outside of the body. At some point that fluid loss can have terrible systemic consequences on the patient. It also allows infection in. Why add insult to injury? And why add another problem to your already long list?
      I also like the fact that the skin acts as a self made pressure bandage which is what the body needs to slow and stop the fluid production faucet.
      These cases take months to heal. But your dogs attitude and demeanor are the best guides to how things are progressing. If she is happy, eating, bright, pink, and recovering well I would watch this for now. Of course your own vet is the true credible expert here. Lean on them and their advice.
      Hope this helps.
      Good Luck!
      So glad to hear that she was spayed and had the masses removed.

      Delete
  16. My Labrador had a foreign body removed from his stomach 5 days ago. He is eating and pottying normally. His energy level hasn't increased much but it did take him 3 days to eat anything significant. My concern is the seroma that has developed. He definitely has fluid build up that is at the lowest point of the incision but it also appears to travel in each side of the 10" incision. This area which is smaller is harder. He's still uncomfortable laying down. The area is not warm to the touch and although there is bruising at the lowest point it has not grown in size and has actually decreased a little in size and color. When I touch these areas he is not sensitive. Should I have him looked at? Is it typical that he lacks more energy at this time?
    Thank you for your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Kathy,
      I always recommend having the vet look at the incision if it is any way concerning. Best of luck.
      PS if you are looking for immediate answers to questions find me on Pawbly.com
      Take care
      Krista

      Delete
  17. Hi, 3 weeks ago my dogs neck become swollen underneath and was starting to restrict her breathing. She went to the vets and they did tests etc and they confirmed it was nothing as the swelling went down the next day and discharged her. She was then fine and 1.5 weeks later a lump appeared at the nape of her neck overnight, we then took her back and they did further tests etc and then confirmed they were unsure what it was so had to open her up and remove the lump, after this they sent it away for testing. They placed a drain on her neck and relived this after the 10th day however now her neck has swollen up into a large lump which feels like fluid but it's getting bigger. We are really concerned and unsure what to do, do you have any suggestions as the vets seem willing to take out money but we are not convinced they have given her the right care as she now looks worse than before, they have advised us to massage the fluid and put a hot compress on it, however it's just getting bigger m. She is on antibiotics but no other medicines either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      In the future please go to Pawbly.com for a free (and faster) question and answer format.
      As for this case I would strongly suspect a salivary mucocele? Has anyone discussed this with you? I would seek a specialist for help in diagnosing and treating this. Best of luck

      Delete
  18. Hi, my dog has just went through a surgery removing varian tissue remment. Its been 2 day, and theres a bump a located on her ribcage. Is it possible for Seromas to grow there. It hurts when I touch it, but she can still lie on that side.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is possible to get a seroma almost anywhere. I would be concerned though if it appears to be painful. It is best to see your vet about this.
      For future reference all questions will be answered quickly if directed to me on Pawbly.com. It is free to use.
      Best of luck

      Delete
  19. Hello Krista,
    I have a 6 month old puppy that was spayed a week ago today. She was not given a cone and as puppies do she played hard the day after surgery. I returned to the vet on Saturday which I was charge a hefty emergency fee to take a look at her. They said she needed antibiotics(injection), cleaning the site, and sedatives. Since Saturday the area has continuous purulence and swells up as big as an egg sometimes. I called the vet and they said they might need to go back in and drain the area which they said could cost up to $700.00. Because the antibiotics were given Saturday I would have assumed the area would have gone down by now? The area is a little bit smaller but still able to push on the site and see drainage. Is there any over the counter medicaments I can put in it?? They were suggesting warm compresses? Also, since the spay she has been having a lot more pee accidents. Can this be normal? Thank you in advance for your advice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Mackenzie,
      I think that the best thing to do is to call the vets back. Ask to speak to the owner and/or manager. Be very polite and explain your concerns and ask them to help you take care of your dog, which is their obligation. They should have given you take home instructions. Preferably in writing. If they did not I would ask them to assume the next day charge and future care. If it is just a seroma and not infection or dehiscesnce I would monitor and wait. If you are concerned get a second opinion.Please direct any questions about pet care to Pawbly.com. It will be answered for free and more promptly. good luck with your girl

      Delete
  20. Aloha, 5 weeks ago my 2 year-old cavalier mix had knee surgery for severe patellar luxation (deepened groove, moved everything into place, and pin inserted). He was able to walk on it strongly within 7 days, but at around 15 days he started limping and now rarely uses it. He swims strongly w/that leg during water therapy 4 days a week, and his vet says everything is still in place, but when he puts weight on it he acts as if he stepped on a thorn. A few days ago a 3-inch pillowy pocket formed (though not directly over the pin), assuming it is a seroma. He went to the vet yesterday, had no fever, knee is still in place, but he was concerned that he's not using the leg. He gave an anti-inflammatory and scheduled him to come back in 1 week. He said he might need his inner stitches removed soon, and may remove the pin in 2-3 weeks, in case it is poking him and causing irritation. Any other ideas or advice? Thank you for your help!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great article! Thanks for putting my mind at rest. My lab had a grade 2 MST removed from her elbow which is a high motion area, so a seroma was inevitable. The seroma is getting bigger around the sutures, but my dog is fine, physically and mentally, so recommending keeping activity levels low is exactly what I'll do. And I won't waste any more time with cold compresses. Your comment about the body wanting to fill the empty space was perfect also.

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  22. Ok I have a 2 yr old mastiff lab mix she was fixed last week couple days ago a lump developed they had me come in said it was a seroma and drained some of it gave me anti biotic. Then 2 days later was back to original size bring her back in take some more out test it under Marco scope said def a seroma told me to stop anti biotic and use warm compress 3x a day. Then check in a couple weeks I'm worried it may be wrong the first time I brought her felt like a water balloon inside her now feels like it's getting harder I'm just concerned for her don't need a dead dog.

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  23. Update. Stitches were removed last week and seroma had expanded to the point where even the vet tech thought it might leak. But we still didn't drain it, (although I did periodically put a bag of frozen peas on, for my dog's comfort more than any shrinking qualities a compress might have). We're now at day 20 and it's shrunk considerably. Yay. It does take patience. It's amazing how much the skin can stretch.

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    Replies
    1. thats woderful news! Thank you for the update.

      Delete
  24. Replies
    1. She is! And she is a sweetheart too! Thank you for reading!

      Delete
  25. My 9 month old Yorkie was neutered last week. When I brought him home, he wanted to lay around and just was lethargic. Today, I noticed a very hard knot on the back right side of his let. It was as long as his penis and went almost over to his leg area. He was running a temp. I carried him back. The vet kept him saying that the sonogram showed signs of an absess. She put him on anti inflammation meds and wanted to watch him. Is this a sometimes normal occurranceance after neutering. Or, could it be something else entirely? Thanks for your reply.

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    Replies
    1. Hello,
      I am sorry for the delay. I don't always get to check this daily. If you ever need a fast answer to a pet question please use Pawbly.com. It is possible to get a wide array of conditions after a neuter. Certainly an abscess, hematoma, seroma, are all possible. I suggest you stay in close contact with your vet and monitor your dog very closely. I hope he is better soon

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  26. My terrier mix was spayed last week, and had a mammary cyst removed. Her spray incision is great, but her chest incision is a soft ball of fluid. The vet said that seromas are common post mammary cyst removal and said it could be weeks before it resolved. Our pup is happy, playful and seems fine, but I just wish I could make it better for her! I am so grateful our vet told us to expect this therefore we were prepared, and didn't freak out!

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    1. Hello,
      I would bet that she doesn't care or mind the seroma at all. Only people do,, we don't like bumps but, dogs don't mind them. take care
      krista

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  27. My golden has a seroma, post spay. We took her back and they gave antibiotics and anti inflammatory and sedative to take for a week. Do you feel all of this is necessary? Can she be further harmed if she is active? She wants to play. She just lays around with the sedative.

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    1. Hello April,
      If your vet truly believe it is a seroma I would inquire as to why all of these are necessary? And no I have never given a sedative. If you are comfortable keeping her quiet and monitoring her seroma and spay incision she shouldn't need a sedative. Also inquire about who did the spay, and what their experience level is? I have a blog on questions to ask before getting your dog spayed. It might help.
      I hope she is up and herself very soon.
      in the future please ask pet related questions on pawbly.com i will answer them faster there.

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  28. Hello! Hopefully you can shed some light on my situation. My male dog was neutered last thursday. Saturday his scrotum and penis area started to swell. I did warm compresses and it kept getting larger. Monday morning his scrotum was huge and almost looked ready to burst. I rushed him back to the vet who said he needed his scrotum removed and told me it was because of overactivity. (He wasn't being very active at all and was sedated). They removed the scrotum and now he has 14 stitches. He's on an antibiotic and pain meds and a sedative. He's been in his crate sense he's gotten home and only goes out to potty on a leash. His penis area is swelling even more feels like fluid, and runny blood is seeping out of his incision. Should I see a different vet? Or does it sound like a seroma? They tried to tell me it was cellulitis. Although he has no fever and in good spirits and no heat when I felt his scrotum or upper penis area where the swelling is. Thank you.

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    1. hello Cheryl,
      I hope the answer below helps. If you have other questions please direct them to pawbly.com for a faster response.
      Sincerely
      Krista

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  29. Hello. I tried to post once but I don't think it worked I will try again. I had my male dog neutered last thursday. Everything was good until Saturday when his shafts of the penis (skin around) and his scrotum started to swell. I didn't think anything of it. Just kept cleaning the incision and doing warm compresses. By Monday morning his scrotum was bigger than a grapefruit although cool to the touch so I rushed him back to the vet. They said I needed to have his scrotum removed and that he had cellulitis. They removed his scrotum but didn't say anything about around his penis. They gave him 14 stitches and put him on a sedative and antibiotic. They said he was being overactive and it was my fault. Which he wasn't being very active at all and always had he e collar on. He's been in the crate sense we got home and only goes out to potty on a leash so his activity is pretty much non existent now. Now his penis area is swelling more and has blood (almost looks like watery blood) seeping out of his incision. Should I see a different vet for another opinion or does this sound like a very bad seroma? They did tell me that his scrotum was full of fluid tainted with blood. I'm so worried about him and he's been though 2 surgerys in not even a week. He just turned a year old Monday when he had his scrotum removed. Any advice is appriciated. Thank you.

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    1. Hello,
      I am sorry for the delay in answering. I am still a working vet and some days I am at the clinic all day and into the night so it is difficult to check this as often as I would like to.
      I think that it is best to call the vet back and explain your concerns. I also think that it would be helpful to insist they offer constructive advice without the guilt and judgement (it is not helpful). Try to be open and honest and remind them that you are all working together to help your dog. If you still feel uncomfortable ask for a referral or seek a second opinion. I cannot tell you what is going on without an examination, but, I find swelling at the prepuce odd if a pre-scrotal neuter was done. I will add that every so often I do have a neuter become a very swollen scrotum. I have not ablated after this happens as they have resolved with anti-inflammatories, compresses, and rest.
      http://kmdvm.blogspot.com/2013/04/if-you-look-at-this-and-gasp-you-are-guy.html
      very best of luck..

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  30. I personally would seek another doctor. It sounds like they're causing more harm than good.

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  31. Is it possible for my dog to develop a seroma 10 weeks post enucleation? There are no signs of infection and her behavior is normal. They eye was removed due to melanoma of iris and ciliary body. Naturally, I am concerned about recurrence of malignancy. However, it feels like a fluid filled cyst. Our veterinarian recommended an NSAID and warm compress.

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  32. I am just so happy to have found this site and this discussion. My Doberman has developed several orange-sized seromas starting about a week after surgery along an incision running from the front of his ribcage down his back leg. We just had three ribs and a cancerous tumor removed. I hadn't been warned to watch out for seromas and became very concerned so have contacted my surgeon/vet team via phone several times over the past week about it. They keep getting bigger and I felt like I'd failed as a puppy mom. Last night they were not as soft and squishy--they felt much firmer/fuller and the skin was stretched so much. His incision is getting a little pink in one spot, but he's shown no signs of infection until now. I've been doing warm compresses as advised by my surgeon and have him on some pain meds/anti-anxiety meds to help keep him calm and comfortable since he is way too active to heal. We have a vet appointment tomorrow morning for his sutures to be removed and I'm sure they'll check it out. Thank you so much for your valuable advice and helping me get through this tough week up to his followup appointment. I'll surely bookmark your page!

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    1. Thank You Lisa for reading and for leaving such a nice note! Very best of luck to your pup! Sincerely, Krista ;-)

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  33. Hi my bitch Labrador has just been neutered. She has developed seroma which is leaking slightly out of the wound. The vet has given me antibiotics and anti-inflammatory's as around the stitches were a little raised. My vet looked at the wound and said he was happy with it and not worried about the leaking it will stop eventually. If it doesn't go by tomorrow i'm worried as the antibiotics are running out tomorrow afternoon and she is not being seen until Monday again. Do you think she will be ok with this please or should i phone them and ask for more antibiotics x

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    1. Hello,
      I think that if you are worried that it is best to ask for another recheck exam. I, don't prescribe antibiotics for a seroma, but if it is oozing or leaking a belly bandage might help? And, also maybe therapeutic laser, or warm compresses? Just things to ask about. As long as she is acting normally I typically don't worry too much. They can take a few weeks to resolve. Good Luck.

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  34. Ok thank you so much. The vet didn't worry at all he said these can happen and when I mentioned the antibiotics were finishing he didn't say anything so i'm hoping it's just a waiting game. xxx

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  35. Hi Krista, so we have a real issue. Our guy has developed a LARGE Seroma on his shoulder blades and it has been almost a year now! The vet we took him to drained him a year ago, and it immediately came back a day later even though I tried to wrap something around, hot and cold compresses, etc. We took him back again and he said the only other option was surgery and a drain and this could cause complications itself (our guy does not heal well let me add ugh) so he suggested letting it absorb itself. Two other vets at the time also told us letting the body absorb the fluid back would be better too as long as he was not in any discomfort or pain (and he hasn't been let me add.. he doesn't even realize it is there, but it is HUGE and it bothers me every day)... I am at a loss. I just don't know what to do for him. We don't want to do surgery at all, but what are other options? Anything we can give him to help? I'm so desperate.

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    1. Based on this description the best advice I can give you is to go to a surgical specialist. Listen to them, and do the surgery if they think there is a chance it will resolve this. A year is faaaaar toooo long.
      Don't be desperate, be proactive, and not afraid to try. Very best of luck.

      Delete
  36. Our 7 1/2 yr old Great Dane had surgery two weeks ago, to have a benign lump removed from his left 'armpit'. About ten days in, a seroma developed, & he was feverish and in pain. The vet prescribed Previcix 227, once daily for 4 days, & Apo Amko Clav 500 2x per day for 10 days. He said to watch the seroma & bring the dog back in IF it doubles in size.

    It hasn't grown, but, part of the wound seems to be open, & the seroma is leaking a transparent reddish yellowish fluid all over the house. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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    1. hello,
      the best advice i can give is to go to your vet and confirm this is a resolving seroma VS a worsening or simmering infection. You have to start there. You are still within the time frame that it could be either one.

      Delete
  37. Hello, My dog was spayed three months ago. She has had recurring infections at the incision site (with excessive leakage), and has been on very strong antibiotics most recently for over a month to try to minimize the infections. Yesterday, she seemed perfectly fine. Today, she has a very large distended bag of fluid hanging from her incision area. (no leakage or other infection symptoms) I can tell she is lethargic, and she did not eat this morning. I have racked up nearly $2000 in vet bills to try to get this dog healthy. Should I be worried about these "seromas" now, or are these to be expected?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      This sounds like infection and not a seroma. Please see your vet or ask for a referral. It may also be time to do a culture of the fluid to identify the source of the infection and provide a more targeted treatment plan.

      Delete
  38. Hi Krista, so we have a real issue. Our guy has developed a LARGE Seroma on his shoulder blades and it has been almost a year now! The vet we took him to drained him a year ago, and it immediately came back a day later even though I tried to wrap something around, hot and cold compresses, etc. We took him back again and he said the only other option was surgery and a drain and this could cause complications itself (our guy does not heal well let me add ugh) so he suggested letting it absorb itself. Two other vets at the time also told us letting the body absorb the fluid back would be better too as long as he was not in any discomfort or pain (and he hasn't been let me add.. he doesn't even realize it is there, but it is HUGE and it bothers me every day)... I am at a loss. I just don't know what to do for him. We don't want to do surgery at all, but what are other options? Anything we can give him to help? I'm so desperate.


    مكافحة الصراصير المنزلية التخلص من الصراصير القضاء علي الصراصير في المطبخ

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hello,
      Until you are certain that this is a seroma you should treat it as an infection, foreign body, or mass. The options to discuss are fluid analysis and/or surgical exploration. It might also help to get a second opinion from a veterinary surgeon, especially in this case as it has been such a chronic condition.

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  39. Thank you so much. This article was of great help.

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    1. You're welcome,, I am glad it helped,, my best to you and your pup.

      Delete
  40. Hi...i've been reading here for the past week and thanks for all the information on seroma
    About 3 weeks ago my dog developed a huge swelling on his shoulder.. We took him to the vet and found out that it was due to a blood vessel rupturing.. So the entire swelling was blood,the vet also did a blood test and found that everything was low, his platelets we at 24... So it would beEimpossible for home to do the surgery so he give him a lot of injections and give us some anti inflammatory and B vitamins to give him.. A week after the swelling got smaller so we took him back to the vet, he made an incision and drained it off all the blood and blood clots... And give us some doxycycline pills to give him and a week after that we notice that the area was beginning to swell so we took him back to the vet and the vet said it looked like lymphatic fluid and he drained it, the fluid was kind of reddish but not as red as blood... Now a few days after that it has swollen up again to the size of a baseball, so I took him to the vet again and he drained it today.. The fluid was a bit more red this time and he said that if it swells up again they will have to open him up and see where this fluid is leaking from from... He said that it can be leaking from the lymph vessel and also there is a possibility that the blood vessel is bleeding... I'm worried about my boy... Can you please give me some advice on what this is??

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    1. Please see the response below. best of luck

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  41. Hi, my dog had a drainage done 3 weeks ago, he had an injury and ruptured a blood vessel in his shoulder and it was swollen huge, when I took him to the vet and he did a blood test and found that everything in his blood is low, his platelets were at 27..the vet said that he could do surgery on him with his blood being that low so he give him a lot of injections(vitamin k and b vitamins) and give me some anti inflammatory tablets to give him, a week after that the swelling went down and I took him back to the vet to have the remaining clots and blood drained, a week after it was drained, I noticed swelling around the area that the incision was made, i took him to the vet and he drained it and said it was lymphatic fluid( it was a reddish colour), another week has passed and now the swelling has come back and now the size of a baseball so I took him to the vet today and he drained it and said that if it comes back, he with have to do surgery to seal wherever the fluid is leaking from, he also said that thereEis a possibility that the blood vessel may be bleeding again since the fluid that came out this time was a but more read.... Please help, I'm really worried about my boy and don't know what to do... His name is buddy

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    1. hello Jeffery,
      I'm sorry to hear about Buddy. I am not sure what your question is? If you are feeling anxious or worried about your pup ask for a referral to a specialist, like a veterinary surgeon. If you are feeling scared about what is going on and lost in the overload of information and prognosis ask your vet to sit down with you and explain it all again. Some of these cases are like this, a seemingly endless road of ups and downs with intrigue and mystery along the way. In my opinion it sounds like you don't have a firm grasp as to what his inciting original underlying problem is and you are chasing corrections to the consequences of not identifying and correcting the root cause.

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