Infected Neuter Incision – What Does an Infected Neuter Incision Look Like?

infected neuter incision
infected neuter incision

Neutering of pets is usually recommended to avoid ending up with unwanted pets. It is recommended that the procedure is carried out by the time a dog is eight months old. With proper pre and post-operative care, your pup should heal within 14 days. Unfortunately, this is not always the case as the area may suffer infection before healing. Learn what the causes of an infected neuter incision are, what it looks like, prevention, treatment, and care.

Infected Neuter Incision in Dog

An infected neuter incision on a dog is not so common but it does happen. It occurs when there is a proliferation of bacteria on the incision site. This bacterial invasion leads to damage of body tissues around the neuter incision site and thus inhibits the healing process. It results in discharge buildup and inflammation. In most cases, it is as a result of poor aftercare of the incision. Before we can look at what this kind of infection looks like, let us first explore the healing process and what is normal.

Neuter Incision Healing

When a dog suffers a wound on the skin whether through lacerations, injuries or neuter incision, the immune system gets stimulated. As a result, the body starts working to heal the area broken by the incision. This involves mobilization of inflammatory cells, white blood cells as well as protein on the point of injury.

As the healing proceeds, the cells responsible for repair dwindle and there is a formation of a scar. Where no infections are experienced, it will take up to 14 days for the incision to heal after which a permanent scar will start forming. There are certain indicators that your dog’s healing is going on well. Here is how to tell.

Neuter Incision Healing Signs

Once the neuter incision has been done, the site of operation will swell and redden within the first days. Where the neutered dog is quite active, the swelling that forms is likely to be firm due to the immune system responding to the hyperactivity and excess movement. It is possible to have mild blood tinged discharge with the wound adopting a bruised look. There might also be a slight gap between the edges.

As days go by, the bruising, redness and swelling will diminish. Scabbing may form on the incision site around the stitches. The area should not be painful. In most cases, the dog will heal well enough within seven days and allow for the removal of staples or sutures used.

What Does an Infected Neuter Incision Look Like

With the above in mind, how, do you tell there is an infection? Once your dog has undergone a neutering procedure, you can only tell if there is an infection by conducting a thorough inspection of the site. This should be done twice daily to help identify signs of an infected neuter incision. To achieve this, here is the procedure.

  1. Using an antibacterial soap, wash your hands thoroughly.
  2. Depending on the size of the dog, you can either make her turn on her back or cradle her up.
  3. While in this position, examine the neuter incision site for irritation, swelling, and redness. The area should appear clean and free from inflammation.
  4. With your palm lying flat on the dog’s abdomen, gauge the temperature. This should not feel significantly hot.
  5. While placing the arm on them, watch and see if the dog gasps or flinches as this could indicate pain.
  6. Determine if there is any foul odor coming from the neuter incision.
  7. Repeat the procedure two times each day until the area heals.

While conducting the above procedure, it is important to look out for signs and symptoms of infection at the neuter incision site. These will help answer the question “What does an infected neuter incision look like in dogs?” They include:

  • Severe swelling at the incision site. Instead of diminishing you may notice that the area keeps swelling with time.
  • The presence of pus which can be seen as a greenish or yellowish discharge.
  • The area of the incision will feel hot and the dog may also suffer elevated body temperature
  • A foul smell emanating from the site also indicates infected neuter incision.

Watch out for serious symptoms such as refusal to drink or eat, difficulty in peeing or restlessness. These warrant a visit to the vet.

Additionally, persistent loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting should be of concern and immediate veterinary attention should be sought.

Dog Neuter Incision Open

A small neuter incision opening on your dog is usually normal. However, if it gets bigger, it is important to see your veterinarian. This is more so if the opening is opened before the 10 to 14 healing days are over. When the opening is seen after this, it is probable that the internal sutures have healed and no risk is imminent. Talking to your vet, whenever in doubt, though, wouldn’t hurt. They will be in a position to know if antibiotics are necessary in case the opening has the potential to cause infection at the incision site.

Infected Neuter Incision in Dogs Causes

When done by an experienced professional, neutering should heal properly as long as the dog owner conducts appropriate post-surgery care. Among some of the causes of an infected neuter incision in dogs include:

Unsterilized Surgical Tools

Failure to properly sterilize the tools used as well as the point of incision could see your dog suffer infection. At times poor surgical techniques could lead to infections too. These include poor preparation of the skin, failure to use gloves as well as conducting the procedure in an unhygienic environment.

Soiled and Wet Sutures

Where the dog is subjected to general dirt and wetness before healing, it is possible for the area to get infected. Getting in contact with urine, dirt, feces, allowing the dog to lie in mad or go swimming before healing could all subject the dog to infections.


Dogs are in the habit of chewing and licking wounds. When this happens, it could cause the incision to open up as well as the subject it to infection-causing microorganisms.

Exposure to Bacteria

This may occur in different ways. Proper after-surgery care is necessary for ensuring that your dog heals and that opportunistic infections do not occur. Failure to do this will see the incision site getting infected and thus prolonging the healing duration.


A dog that is too active and keeps moving around tends to put tension on the sutures. This could lead to the sutures pulling out resulting in a prolonged healing period. To prevent this, try and keep your dog in quiet places that do not encourage play until they heal.

How to Treat Infected Neuter Incision

Where you suspect it, it is important to contact your veterinarian so they can advise on how to treat the infected neuter incision. In most cases, a course of antibiotics is prescribed. Administer this as advised without skipping or interfering with the dosage. Continue giving it to your dog for the time advised even when the area appears to have healed.

During the time when you are treating the incision infection, keep your pet indoors. You might also want to keep the dog away from animals that may cause more damage to the wounded site.

Where the infection is as a result of excessive licking, you can use an Elizabethan collar to stop it and allow time to heal.

Ensure you keep the area as dry and clean as possible. However, when the incision area becomes dirty, use some cool soapy water to clean it and ensure that you part it dry to avoid further problems. Else, keep the area as dry as possible. With these, the infected neuter incision should get better and heal within no time. In case you are concerned about anything, always contact your veterinarian.



  1. My dog was put on antibiotics the day after surgery, (6 days ago) but he still looks infected. His appetite and bowl & urination are still normal. I cleaned and put antibiotic cream on him. Will it just take time? Or should I take him to his vet?

  2. Am I the only person that realized that in speaking about the neuter incision they referred to the gender of the pet a “she” and the incision site as being on the abdomen? That would be a “spay”.

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