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Management of Superficial Skin Abscess in Cattle-A Case Report



An abscess is an accumulation of pus that hollows out a cavity in the tissues by destroying and expanding them and surrounded by fibrous tissue. Successful management of the abscess was presented in six cattle of different sex and age group. All the abscess swellings were located subcutaneously and one at the base of the ear, two between the mandibles, one at the cranial surface of the shoulder region, one in the left ventrolateral abdomen area and one at the dorsal surface of the gluteal muscles. Clinical examination revealed the masses were warm, hard, and painful in the initial stages, and become fluctuating and soft for maturation. All animals were successfully treated by regular drainage of pus along with a daily antiseptic dressing of tincture-iodine, parenteral administration of antibiotics (PenStrip® for 5 days), and oxytetracycline wound spray. All treated animals successfully recovered after 10 days post-intervention without any other complications.
Article Type: Research Article
Received: 10/06/2020
Published: 26/06/2020
Haben Fesseha¹* Yonas Getachew²
¹School of Veterinary Medicine, Wolaita Sodo University, P. O. Box 138, Wolaita Sodo, Ethiopia
²College of Veterinary Medicine, Addis Ababa University, PO Box 34, Bishou, Ethiopia
Management of Superficial Skin Abscess in Cattle- A Case Report
*Corresponding author: Haben Fesseha, School of Veterinary Medicine, Wolaita Sodo University, P. O. Box 138, Wolaita
Sodo, Ethiopia
Copyright ©All rights are reserved by Haben Fesseha
DOI: 10.46718/JBGSR.2020.01.000037
An abscess is an accumulaon of pus that hollows out a cavity in the ssues by destroying and expanding them and surrounded
by brous ssue. Successful management of the abscess was presented in six cale of dierent sex and age group. All the abscess
swellings were located subcutaneously and one at the base of the ear, two between the mandibles, one at the cranial surface
of the shoulder region, one in the le ventrolateral abdomen area and one at the dorsal surface of the gluteal muscles. Clinical
examinaon revealed the masses were warm, hard, and painful in the inial stages, and become uctuang and so for maturaon.
All animals were successfully treated by regular drainage of pus along with a daily ansepc dressing of ncture-iodine, parenteral
administraon of anbiocs (PenStrip® for 5 days), and oxytetracycline wound spray. All treated animals successfully recovered
aer 10 days post-intervenon without any other complicaons.
Keywords: Abscess; Anbiocs; Cale; Surgical drainage
An abscess is a collecon of pus in conned ssue
spaces, usually caused by a bacterial infecon. Abscesses
can develop anywhere in the body. A skin abscess, also
called a boil, is a bump that appears within or below the
skin’s surface and it is one of the common types of abscess
that appears externally as a swollen, pus-lled lump under
the surface of the skin. Internal abscesses develop inside
the body, in an organ, or the spaces between organs [1,2].
A skin abscess most commonly develops on the head,
neck/dewlap, back, chest, and limbs. Abscesses of the
lymph nodes in the head and neck region (oen referred to
as grass seed abscesses), and of the skin (skin abscesses),
are commonly seen in the export process as a consequence
of abrasions or penetraons of the oropharynx or skin from
grazing prickly plants, seed penetraons or vaccinaon
needles [3-5]. The symptoms of an abscess depend on
where it develops in the body. However, it's more dicult
to idenfy an abscess inside the body. The symptoms
of abscesses include redness, tenderness, pain in the
aected area, a high temperature (warmth), and swelling
(if abscesses are near the skin layer) or constuonal
symptoms (if abscesses are deep). The swelling may feel
uid-lled when pressed. Moreover, the area of redness
oen extends beyond the swelling [6].
A supercial abscess should be dierenated from other
swellings by an exploratory puncture which reveals synovial
uid in bursis; serous uid in cysts; blood in hematoma;
nothing or intesnal content in the hernia. In most cases,
it is recommended to double-check that the swelling is
uid-lled, and not an indurated brous lump, hernia, or
hematoma before incising [7]. Most skin abscesses are
harmless and may go away without treatment. However,
there are cases in which an abscess can lead to serious,
potenally life-threatening complicaons if le untreated.
Somemes, skin abscesses are more dicult to treat and
may require laceraon or drainage [8].
Most subcutaneous abscesses are the result of traumac
skin penetraon with resulng infecon. For example,
facial subcutaneous abscesses are common in cale eang
roughage containing foxtail grass. Several animals in a herd
may be aected at one me [7]. Besides, most abscesses
are caused by a bacterial infecon. Bacteria especially,
Staphylococcus species is the most common bacterial cause
of skin abscesses and occurs when Staphylococcus aureus
bacteria enter the body through a hair follicle or through a
Citation: Haben Fesseha, Management of Supercial Skin Abscess in Cattle- A Case Report. Op Acc J Bio Sci & Res 2(2)-2020.
DOI: 10.46718/JBGSR.2020.01.000037
wound or injury that has punctured or broken the skin. In
rare cases, an abscess may be caused by a virus, fungi, or
parasites [9,10].
When bacteria enter the body, the white blood cells
aack the bacteria and some nearby ssue dies, creang a
hole which then lls with pus to form an abscess. The pus
contains a mixture of dead ssue, white blood cells, and
bacteria. The abscess may get larger and more painful as the
infecon connues and more pus is produced. Some types
of staphylococcal bacteria produce a toxin called Panton-
Valenne leucocidin (PVL) which kills white blood cells. This
causes the body to make more cells to keep ghng the
infecon and can lead to repeated skin infecons [11].
Abscesses can be treated in several dierent ways,
depending on the type of abscess and how large it is. The
main treatment opons include anbiocs, a drainage
procedure, and surgery. Proper physical and chemical
restraining of the animal (crush, and sedaon) may be vital
before starng manipulaon. Besides, asepc procedures
should be followed during the procedure to reduce infecon
and increase the prognosis of the condion. A small skin
abscess may drain naturally, or simply shrink, dry up and
disappear without any treatment. However, large supercial
abscesses may need to be treated with anbiocs to clear
the infecon, and the pus may need to be drained through
an incision. This will usually be done by creang a ventral
drainage hole and thoroughly ush with clean water under
moderate pressure from a hose or syringe using a gloved
nger to gently aid the removal of pus [8,9]. Thus, ensuring
a clean, healthy, and largely free of bacteria can help reduce
the risk of developing skin abscesses [1,12]. The present case
report discusses the successful management of supercial
abscess in cale.
Case History Clinical Examinaon and Preoperave Animal
A total of six cale were presented with an abscess at
Veterinary Teaching Hospital, College of Veterinary Science,
Mekelle University, of which the sex representaon was
four males and two females, the age representaon was
ve adults and one calf. All the abscess swellings were
subcutaneously located in dierent parts of the body of
cale that included one at the base of the ear, two between
the mandibles, one at the cranial surface of the shoulder
region, one in the le ventrolateral abdomen area and one
at the dorsal surface of the gluteal muscles.
On clinical examinaon, the masses were warm, hard,
and painful in the inial stages, and become uctuang
and so for maturaon whereas their history revealed the
gradual reducon of feed intake and water consumpon.
All physiological parameters were normal in all the animals
presented. To dierenate it from other types of lesions
causing swelling like a tumor, hematoma, hernia, etc.,
aspiraon of the content from the swollen mass was
performed using a 16-gauge sterile needle that revealed
creamy discharge in all cases that were diagnosed as an
In one of the cases, the maturaon of the abscess
was done by the applicaon of Ichthammol daily which
completed by the third day. The exploratory puncture was
again done on 3rd day with 16-gauge needles on the swollen
mass which revealed thick, yellowish, creamy pus came out
either through a needle or the punctured site. Accordingly,
based on history, clinical ndings, and exploratory puncture
the cases were diagnosed as a case of supercial skin
abscess in dierent parts of the body. Finally, surgical
evacuaon of the pus was conducted to relieve the cale
from this condion.
For physical restraining, the bull was handled with
rope-assisted by personnel to adequately restrain it in
the ventrolateral posion. Chemically, the animals were
rst sedated with Domidine® (Detomidine hydrochloride,
manufactured by Dechra Veterinary Products Ltd., United
Kingdom) with a dose of 20µg/kg intravenously.
Surgical Correcon
Following proper physical and chemical restraining and
asepc preparaon of the surgical site, surgical evacuaon
of the pus was performed aer proper restraining in
lateral recumbency. The hair surrounding the swelling
was asepcally prepared by clipping, shaving, scrubbing,
washing with water, and salvon® (Cetrimide 3% and
Chlorhexidine gluconate 0.5% soluon). An incision with a
disposable sterile scalpel was made around the p of the
abscess. A large quanty of pus was drained and the cavity
lled with dilute (0.5%) ncture iodine. The cavity was then
lled with packed with gauze soaked in ncture iodine (5%)
with a set on protruding out of the incision to allow pus
drainage. Finally, the animals were admied home.
Post-operave follow-up and Result
Post-surgery, small skin bleeding was noced but it
is normal and helps to heal the wound unless connued
for a long period. The wound asepcally was cleaned
for successive ve days post-operaon. Besides, the
animal was kept on anbioc Penicillin (24mg/kg) and
dihydrostreptomycin sulfate (30mg/kg) (PenStrep®
Norbrook UK) I.M was administered for ve consecuve
Citation: Haben Fesseha, Management of Supercial Skin Abscess in Cattle- A Case Report. Op Acc J Bio Sci & Res 2(2)-2020.
DOI: 10.46718/JBGSR.2020.01.000037
three days. Meloxicam, at a dose rate of 0.5mg/kg, IM)
was given twice daily for three successive days for pain
management. Moreover, oxytetracycline wound spray
was used for three successive days. The owners were also
advised to clean the wound daily using homemade saline
soluon and subjecvely assess for discomfort, unpleasant
discharges, pain, and inammaon at the wound site. The
postoperave evaluaons showed good healing progress of
the surgical wound. All wounds successfully recovered aer
10 days without any other complicaons and no signs of
recurrence were seen during this period.
Discussion and Conclusion
An abscess is a circumscribed inammatory lesion, which
consists of purulent exudates. Causes of abscesses formaon
are variable and include a breach on the surface of the skin or
mucous membrane and entrance of pyogenic microorganisms
through it, infected foreign bodies migrang from the lumen
of the digesve tract, the non-sterilized needle used for
intramuscular injecon, punctured or penetrang wounds
All the abscess swellings were subcutaneously located in
dierent parts of the body of cale that included one at the
base of the ear, two between the mandibles, one at the cranial
surface of the shoulder region, one in the le ventrolateral
abdomen area and one at the dorsal surface of the gluteal
muscles. This result was in agreement with that reported by
Misk [6] who stated that the predilecon sites of abscesses in
dierent animals depend mainly on the way of entrance of the
infecon. Abscess cases were higher in males than females,
due to the use of males for draught purposes in the area and
ghng between them. Cale are the species predominantly
used in agriculture operaons to pull agricultural implements
(e.g. plough, weeder, puddler, etc) [14]. This is in agreement
with the current case report in terms of sex-wise incidence of
the case.
The exploratory puncture was highly diagnosc in case
of abscesses. Besides, size, consistency, nature, and color
of the contents play a considerable role in the diagnosis
and dierenal diagnosis of abscesses. Treatments of all
cases depend on maturaon and evacuaon. A thorough
examinaon of the abscess cavity was essenal to extract
any migrang foreign bodies; otherwise, the abscesses will
connue to discharge pus aer its opening. Treatment of
large abscess was performed by evacuaon of pus from the
abscess cavity along with anbacterial therapy. A similar line
of treatment was followed by Thorat, Sahoo and Ganguly
[15,16] and Hassan [9]. Drainage is essenal to prevent
dead space and seroma formaon. Simple dependent stab
incisions, passive drains, or acve drainage systems were
used depending on the wound [17,18]. In conclusion, it
could be concluded that at eld or farm level, successful
management of supercial skin abscess in cale can be
aained through proper/regular drainage of the pus followed
by ansepc gauze packing to allow drainage of pus so
that the parental administraon of anbiocs is eecve.
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DOI: 10.46718/JBGSR.2020.01.000037
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*Corresponding author: Haben Fesseha, E-mail:
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... A n abscess is the commonest swelling observed on the skin surface of an animal body, sometimes caused by microbial infection. 1 It's a circumscribed inflammatory lesion that consists of a purulent exudate 'the pus' enclosed by a 'limiting membrane' the pyogenic membrane. 2 Pus is the end result of a war established between the invasive pyogenic microorganisms and living tissues. ...
... The exploratory puncture was the highly diagnostic technique in the case of cutaneous and subcutaneous abscesses. 1,8 Similarly, in the present case, the exploratory puncture was done. An abscessis classified as either an extended abscess without limitations or well-circumscribed, firm, and movable under the skin based on its nature. ...
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Introduction An abscess is the most common swelling observed on the skin surface of the animal body with a collection of pus due to microbial invasion of the dermis and its supporting structures. Case Description In the present case, nine-years-old male Zebu cattle were presented to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) with a history of swelling on the cheek. Clinical findings of the mass revealed that there was well-circumscribed, firm, movable cold, and not painful superficial skin swelling on the body of the mandible and check. Culturing on blood agar and gram staining was conducted and then, Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis was isolated from the sample. Following clinical and laboratory finding the case was diagnosed as caseous lymphadenitis and En bloc excision of the case was performed under local infiltration of anesthesia. Conclusion The suture was removed after 15-days post-intervention and the bull was successfully recovered without any other complications. Therefore, management of well-circumscribed, firm, and movable superficial skin abscess in cattle through en bloc excision along with antibacterial therapy and allowing the skin wound to heal by the first intention should be effective.
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This case report describes successful management of the abscess in lower hind limb in a 5-year-old dairy cow. Clinical examination revealed weight-bearing lameness of the affected limb with swelling and pain on palpation. Large pus filled mass hot and soft in consistency with inflammatory signs was diagnosed. Animal was successfully treated by regular drainage of pus along with daily antiseptic dressing of povidone iodine and parenteral administration of antibiotics (tetracycline for 4 days, then ceftriaxone for 8 days). The cow successfully recovered after two weeks without any other complications.
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The aim of the present study is to determine different kinds of cysts present on the body surface of some farm animals with special reference to diagnosis and treatment. The study was carried out on a total number of 94 animals of different species (Buffaloes=5, Cattle=18, Sheep=5, Goat=34, Camel=13, Horse=5 and Donkey=14) suffering from different kinds of cysts on the body surface. Diagnosis was established depending on case history, location, clinical signs, exploratory puncture and histopathological examination of excised cysts. Different kinds of cysts were diagnosed namely; dermoid (36), branchial (7), dentigerous (2), tassel (32), thyroid (15) and interdigital (2). Aspiration and injection of medicaments were performed for treatment of thyroid cysts; incision and evacuation were applied for treatment of some dermoid cysts while surgical excision was done for branchial, dentigerous, tassel, interdigital and some dermoids. The results of treatment were encouraging without postoperative complications. In conclusion we can state that different varieties of cysts were observed on body surface in some farm animals and nearly all of them can be managed.
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The present case described abscess in a camel which was presented at the thigh region. Clinical signs showed large broad based mass with inflammatory signs involving pain, hot and soft in consistency. The case was corrected surgically under local anaesthesia. The cow recovered successfully within 8 days without any secondary complications.
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A total of 426 sheep and goats with various types of surgical affections were included in this study. The affected animals were admitted to the veterinary clinics distributed allover Qena district, Egypt. The incidence of these affections varied in both species. The incidence of recorded affections included; abscesses (54 %), cysts (11.03%), udder and teat affections (8.92%), intestinal prolapse and atrasia ani (8.45%), ocular affections (6.1%), urogenital system affections (4.93%), hernias (3.76%), craniofacial defects (1.64%) and arthrogryposis (1.17%). Surgical and/or medicinal treatment trials were undertaken for the affected animals with uneventful results. In certain congenital defects the treatment was not recommended.
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Staphylococcus aureus causes many types of human infections and syndromes-most notably skin and soft tissue infections. Abscesses are a frequent manifestation of S. aureus skin and soft tissue infections and are formed, in part, to contain the nidus of infection. Polymorphonuclear leukocytes (neutrophils) are the primary cellular host defense against S. aureus infections and a major component of S. aureus abscesses. These host cells contain and produce many antimicrobial agents that are effective at killing bacteria, but can also cause non-specific damage to host tissues and contribute to the formation of abscesses. By comparison, S. aureus produces several molecules that also contribute to the formation of abscesses. Such molecules include those that recruit neutrophils, cause host cell lysis, and are involved in the formation of the fibrin capsule surrounding the abscess. Herein, we review our current knowledge of the mechanisms and processes underlying the formation of S. aureus abscesses, including the involvement of polymorphonuclear leukocytes, and provide a brief overview of therapeutic approaches. Copyright © 2015 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Bite wounds in small animals can be life-threatening, especially if the skull, cervical region, or thoracic or abdominal cavity is penetrated. Emergency treatment for shock and associated injuries is often necessary. Dog bites generate a tremendous amount of force, causing lacerations as well as puncture, tear, avulsion, and crushing injuries. Although superficial punctures and lacerations may seem minor, the crushing may damage deep tissues and internal organs. Pasteurella multocida is an important pathologic agent in both dog and cat bite wounds, but Staphylococcus and Streptococcus species are also often found. All bite wounds should be considered contaminated and may easily become infected if bacteria inoculated into a wound are allowed to proliferate. Gram's stain and culture and sensitivity testing of infected wounds are helpful in guiding initial antibiotic therapy. Part I of this two-part presentation discusses the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and microbiology of bite wounds in cats and dogs and reviews initial treatment, including emergency stabilization and managing special injuries associated with these wounds. Part II will discuss wound management and antibiotic therapy.
Abscess disease (caseous lymphadenitis and Morel disease) is a worldwide contagious bacterial disease of sheep and goats and is adversely affecting the development of the sheep industry in Saudi Arabia. Fifteen sheep and 12 goat farms at Qassim region, central Saudi Arabia, were surveyed during September and October 2008 for the determination of the prevalence and the etiology of abscess disease. One hundred and twenty pus samples were collected from affected external lymph nodes of clinically-ill sheep and goats and from infected internal lymph nodes and organs condemned during meat inspection in the slaughterhouses, for the isolation and identification of pathogenic bacteria causing sheep abscess disease. The prevalence of abscess disease varied between 5%– 44.1% in sheep farms, being highest in the Najdi breed, and between 2.2 % – 6.5 % in goat farms. Males of both sheep and goats had the highest rate of infection compared to females (p <0.01). Bacterial isolates were obtained from 97 out of the 120 collected pus samples (80.83 %). The remaining 23 samples were sterile. Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis and Staphylococcus aureus subsp. anaerobius accounted for about 54% of isolates, with almost equal frequencies (p =0.5). Other pyogenic bacteria such as S. aureus, Streptococci, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Actinomyces pyogenes were also isolated from infected abscesses. They represented about 46% of the isolated etiological agents of sheep abscesses. This explains why available vaccines (bactrins) against caseous lymphadenitis (CLA) are poorly protective against abscess disease in Saudi Arabia.
Caseous lymphadenitis has been a prevalent disease among farmed small ruminants in the majority of sheep-rearing countries for over a century. As it is a chronic disease, introduction of control measures in many countries has been slow or absent, resulting in a steady increase in the incidence of the disease. This, in turn, has impacted upon producers with respect to significant economic losses, not to mention issues of animal welfare, through (in extreme cases) chronic ill-thrift, carcase condemnation at abattoirs and reduced wool yields. This short review presents an overview of the current status of research on caseous lymphadenitis, with special reference to transmission of disease, pathology and pathogenesis.
In fifty developing countries, which contain half of the total human population of the world, there is a heavy dependence on draught animals as an energy source. These animals are used for agriculture operations in 52% of cultivated areas of the world, as well as for hauling 25 million carts. This situation is likely to continue for at least another fifty years. The work performed annually by these draught animals would require 20 million tons of petroleum, valued at US$6 billion, if it were performed by motorized vehicles. The poor working conditions of these animals often adversely affect their productivity. The application of improved technology and better management (i.e. through better feed and health services, and improved design of agricultural implements and carts) could considerably improve the welfare of these animals. Improved systems would generate sufficient benefits for the economy to justify the required investment. High priority should therefore be given to draught animal power in the economic development agenda.