Abscesses and the Joys of Draining

I’ve determined that, should you want to be in a medical profession, as I do, you have to kind of be a little sick in the head. Case in point: draining abscesses is disgustingly awesome and rewarding. (I held back on including a picture of an abscess since they’re pretty awful).

An abscess is “a collection of pus in any part of the body that, in most cases, causes swelling and inflammation around it” (#1). Pus is composed mainly of neutrophils that have been destroyed by macrophages.

I have helped with restraint of two abscess drainings. The first was a cat with an abscess about the size of a grapefruit. Originally, the plan was to drain with syringes, but the flow was good enough just to palpate the abscess and create a super disgusting towel.

This past monday, I helped restrain the sweetest bunny ever who had been in before to have its abscess drained. Fun fact: rabbits lack an enzyme that allows them to form pus the same consistency of dogs and cats (liquid). Therefore, their pus is more like toothpaste and is evacuated from an abscess as such. I was told by our exotics doctor that due to this type of formation, rabbit abscesses often have to be surgically removed. In order to avoid this, she did several gentle flushes with saline. Manipulating the abscess helps to break up the thick pus and remove it.

If you’re brave, sick in the head, or need to induce vomiting, check this out (cue epic music):

Hopefully one day, I will be on the more rewarding end of abscess draining and will get to palpate one myself. Grossly exciting.


Hospital Updates:

  • Smudge and Symba’s other sister Tara has been adopted and is set to go to her new home today! We’ll miss her but we’re all super happy she has a family!



  1. NIH – Abscess