All Creatures Veterinary Hospital

All Creatures Veterinary Hospital
4549 HW 62 West
Mountain Home, AR 72653
(870) 425-5175


Suture Site Reaction

After a surgery, it is not uncommon for a dog or cat to develop a suture site reaction (or seroma). This appears as a small to large lump at the incision site. It is often filled with blood-tinged clear fluid. The lump can occur 2-10 days after surgery and is caused by the body's reaction to the suture (stitches) buried underneath the skin. It is very common in dogs that are very active after surgery (running, jumping and playing) and in animals who lick, chew or scratch at their surgery site.

The veterinarian will examine the lump and determine if the fluid needs to be drained out and if medications are required. Most of the time, there is no infection associated with the reaction, but antibiotics may be prescribed if the lump is opened for the fluid to drain. The lump may come back once or twice before finally going away for good. At home, you can put a warm wet washcloth on the site two to three times a day to help decrease swelling and to draw fluid out. If the veterinarian opens up the site, there may be some drainage for several days. This drainage is normal as long as it is clear to blood tinged with no odor. If the fluid is very bloody, creamy, or has a foul odor, please contact the veterinarian as this could be a sign of infection.

The sutures that are buried beneath the skin are dissolvable and will be absorbed by the body in three to four weeks. After this time, the suture site reaction should completely resolve and the incision site will form a small scar. The area may still feel a little thickened for a few months. Any large lump that persists for more than a month after surgery should be examined by a veterinarian.

If you have questions concerning suture site reactions in your pet, please call our office at (870) 425-5175.