If your pup has ever had a surgical procedure, you've probably already heard of the term 'seroma.' It's a relatively common side effect of surgery, and although it has the potential to cause long-term issues, it's not considered serious or life-threatening, provided you seek veterinary attention for your pet.

Come with me as I guide you through what it looks like, how you can get rid of it, and when you really need to worry.


  1. What is a Seroma in Dogs
  2. Causes of Seromas in Dogs
  3. Signs and Symptoms of Seromas in Dogs
  4. How to Treat Seromas in Dogs
  5. How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment
  6. FAQs
  7. Conclusion

What is a Seroma in Dogs

A seroma is, very simply, a lump of fluid (plasma) that has built up under the skin. There are two classified types, known as:

  1. Surgical seroma, which occurs on or close to the surgery's incision and is caused by the surgery itself;
  2. Non-surgical seroma, which isn't caused by surgery and occurs anywhere on your dog's body.

The lumps are usually squishy and moveable. The plasma is fluid, so you can move the lump around in the same way as a blister caused by boots that rub and hurt your feet. In some cases, over time and untreated, the fluid lump can turn into a hard, firm lump in a process known as calcification.

Causes of Seromas in Dogs

As previously stated, seromas are relatively common post-surgery, around incisions or wounds, such as neutering or spaying, or joint-based surgeries, such as patellar luxation.

As vet Dr. Brad Hinsperger states, the body’s natural repair process is disrupted following surgery, and the body itself, specifically blood vessels, is also damaged. The damage allows fluids, such as plasma, to leak out. When enough of it leaks, a seroma – a fluid-filled bubble – appears. When there is an empty space left behind after surgery, such as the removal of a lump or mass, it can quickly fill with fluid.

If your dog runs around or exerts themselves too much following surgery, the risk of seroma increases. Keep an eye on them, especially if they’re home alone, using something like the Petcube Cam 360, which gives you a 360-degree view of your home and two-way audio. The latter makes it perfect for pets with separation anxiety!

Signs and Symptoms of Seromas in Dogs

The good news about seromas is that they are rarely painful for dogs. Larger ones can get in the way a bit, depending on where they are, but they don’t usually cause serious pain or upset. Secondary infections will cause pain and discomfort, though.

According to veterinary research, seromas are usually:

  • Soft;
  • Fluid-filled localized swelling;
  • Not painful;
  • On or around trauma or surgery wounds;
  • Slow to develop over a few days post-surgery;
  • Can cause swelling in surrounding areas;
  • No discharge or weeping;
  • Clear-colored fluid.

You should seek veterinary attention if you spot any of the following, which could indicate infection and other serious complications:

  • Your dog's seroma consistently gets bigger;
  • The fluid doesn't drain away, even if it's not getting bigger;
  • There are changes to the original wound/incision - appearance, size, redness, etc.;
  • The wound, or seroma, gives off an unpleasant smell;
  • Blood (red) or other changes to the fluid's color;
  • Breaking apart or loosening any stitches;
  • Neurological issues, such as seizures or a coma, are caused by seromas on the brain, according to veterinary research;
  • Organ dysfunction or failure;
  • Any other changes noticed on your pet camera that you can't otherwise explain.

How to Treat Seromas in Dogs

Some dogs will not need their seromas treated; the fluid will naturally reduce and drain away without the need for medical intervention. Studies also show that cold compresses can help reduce inflammation and itching while also soothing buildup and encouraging reabsorption.

In some cases, your dog’s seroma will require draining, which can be as simple as a one-appointment procedure. Others might need antibiotics to prevent or treat an infection or medication to treat wound complications. The seroma itself could also indicate an issue or complication with a surgical wound.

How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment

Although the name Emergency Fund might make you believe it’s just for life-threatening pet situations, the $29-per-month subscription actually offers you much more than just $3,000 of cover per year, for up to six pets, for emergency pet health care. There’s also the around-the-clock e-consultations with professional and friendly vets, and peace of mind knowing that you can ask for advice without an appointment fee attached.

For less than $1 per day, you’ll have protection and cover when you need it the most… and a little extra, too! If it’s an affordable alternative to conventional pet insurance you’re on the hunt for, the Emergency Fund is definitely one to consider.

Would you like to get 27% off the regular price? You’ve got it! Consider it a thank you to the Petcube team for being such a loyal blog reader. You can use this link to learn more about the Fund and sign up.


Can a seroma kill a dog?

The very short answer to this is yes; a seroma can kill a dog. If the fluid becomes infected with bacteria, it becomes an abscess, which, left untreated, can then cause sepsis, which can kill humans and animals in minutes. You shouldn't ignore your dog's potential seroma for this reason.

What's the difference between hematoma and seroma?

Seroma is the collection of plasma under the skin. Hematoma, on the other hand, is the collection of blood under the skin. To go even further, an abscess is an infected hematoma or seroma.

How long does it take for a seroma to go away in dogs?

If your pet’s seroma doesn’t require draining or another type of treatment, the fluid will disperse and the bubble will shrink. This usually happens within one or two weeks. Medication, draining, and recovery time from draining can affect how long it takes for your pet to get back to full health.

Can you prevent seromas in dogs?

To some extent, yes, you can prevent seromas in dogs. Primarily, you must ensure that your pet gets adequate rest following surgery. Activity, such as playing and walking, should be limited for up to one or two weeks or longer, depending on the surgery. You must also make sure that your dog can’t scratch or leak the surgical wound or potential seroma spot and keep a close eye on it.


This is your reminder to routinely check your pets, particularly post-surgery, when they are at their most vulnerable. There are now more ways than ever to monitor and check in with your furry friends, and it could be the thing that helps you save your pet’s life one day.

Always be vigilant, and always check with a vet when something seems out of the ordinary. That’s just responsible pet parenting!

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