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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4997
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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My dog has had an ongoing open "hole" wound on her back that

Customer Question

My dog has had an ongoing open "hole" wound on her back that is idiopathic in origin. Last year, our vet excised it and said it was a cyst that became infected. The excision worked and initially the wound healed, but about 6 months later, the hole returned. Our vet suggested leaving it be and simply doing regular wound care as she is an older dog. Last night, we noticed the hole on her back closed and an identical wound appeared near her neck. A friend mentioned it sounding like a fistula. Does this sound like the case?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Jess K replied 11 months ago.

Hello, this is Dr. Jess. I am sorry to hear about your dog. Is this wound right over the spine? Is there any way to take a photo to post here?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
It is a bit hard to visualize in pictures, but here are two. The center of the wound is a literal hole maybe the girth of a toothpick.
Expert:  Jess K replied 11 months ago.

Is this something your dog has had its whole life, or only recently?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
The wound popped up around two years ago. I've owned her for 7 years; I adopted her from the SPCA when she was about 4. She always had a little raised bump on her back which we had always assumed was just a bit of scar tissue.
Expert:  Jess K replied 11 months ago.

And the hole eventually showed up where the bump was? Any drainage from the area?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Correct.Yes, the drainage when we do wound care is almost always pus or serosanguinous. My husband told me, on one occasion at the veternarian's office, the doctor applied a great deal of pressure when draining it, and what came out was pasty yellow.
Expert:  Jess K replied 11 months ago.

So one of the things that comes to mind for me with what you are describing is what is called a dermoid cyst or sinus. This is like a birth defect where the separation of the skin and the nervous system did not occur completely during embryonic development. Here is an article on the condition: https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/dermoid-sinus

Because it sounds like she had a lump for years and years which then opened up,I wonder if she had a dermoid cyst which became infected/irritated and eventually opened.

Without being able to put my hands on her it is very hard for me to really get a good idea of how this area feels/looks, so this is just one thing that came to my mind, but you could ask your vet if they think this is a possibility.

Another possibility is a sebaceous cyst that was incompletely removed the first time around. Here is an article on those: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2603.

Fistula are usually the result of some foreign body or infected area deep below the skin trying to work its way out, or we can see them around the anus as a perianal fistula, but don't see them on the back very often.

Expert:  Jess K replied 11 months ago.

HEllo, just checking to see if you got my response ?

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