Wounds to the skin, unnoticed or left untreated, may result in abscess formation. An abscess is a collection of pus under the skin in response to infection. When an abscess is beginning to form, there is a firm, warm, painful swelling under the skin; your pet may develop a fever. With time, the swelling softens as the abscess matures. Mature abscesses may rupture through the skin expelling the contents (pus, which is a collection of white blood cells fighting off the infection). Treatment of a skin abscess requires heavy sedation and/or general anesthesia to remove the infectious material. The wound is flushed, and in most cases, a drain is placed for 2-3 days to encourage the infection to drain completely and prevent the abscess from reforming. Oral antibiotics and repeated warm compresses encourage the healing process. Follow-up appointments with your veterinarian are essential to ensure complete resolution of the infection.