Diagnose this SQ mass

September 6, 2019

Photo courtesy Phil Zeltzman

This hunting dog had an enlarging SQ mass. The incision was made to drain and culture the purulent content. The culture revealed Actinomyces.


  1. What’s your presumptive diagnosis?
  2. What would you do next?
  3. What is the typical sequence of events?



  1. Actinomyces should make you think of a grass awn or foxtail foreign body.
  2. Excision of the mass is recommended. Postop, incision of the mass revealed small greenish plant debris. The pathologist therefore was able to confirm the suspicion of an abscess due to a foxtail.
  3. Foxtails are typically inhaled, especially in hunting dogs. They can then migrate through soft tissues to a local area (such as in this patient) or to great distances, including the abdomen.
  1. [Image]: https://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/SQ-mass.jpg
  2. [Image]: https://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/SQ-mass.jpg

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