Does your cat go outside? If
so, there is a good chance that he or she might run into another cat
at some point resulting in a fight. Scratches and especially bite
wounds have a tendency to develop into abscesses in cats. Below
is some basic information about bite wound abscesses in cats.
"Once an abscess has been treated appropriately, healing usually occurs quite rapidly as long as a large amount of tissue damage has not occurred."
What Is an Abscess?
An abscess is a discrete pocket of
pus within the body. In the case of a bite wound or other type
of skin puncture, the typical course of events that leads towards an abscess forming
is as follows:
- The skin is punctured and
bacteria gain access to deeper tissues.
- The skin seals and begins
to heal, trapping the bacteria underneath.
- The body responds to the
infection by sending white blood cells and other elements of the immune
system to the area.
- Pus develops as cells break
down and more white blood cells and bacteria join the battle.
- The affected area swells
and eventually ruptures as more and more pus develops.
Common Symptoms of Abscesses
The typical symptoms associated with
an abscess in cats include:
- Swelling, which may have
a fluid-filled feel to it if the abscess is close to the body's surface
- Fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite, all of which may improve once an abscess ruptures
- A foul odor and visible pus once the abscess ruptures
- An open wound if tissue damage is severe
Close investigation of the skin covering
an abscess may reveal one or more puncture wounds that are in the process
of healing (scabbed over).
If an abscess has not yet ruptured,
your veterinarian will lance and drain it. Next, the pocket under
the skin needs to be flushed with an antiseptic
solution. Both of
these procedures usually require that the cat be sedated.If the
pocket is large, your veterinarian may need to place a rubber drain
through it to prevent fluid from building up again.
Feline antibiotics are usually necessary to deal with any infection
that remains, and medications to relieve pain, inflammation, and fever
may also be administered. When your cat returns home, your veterinarian
may ask you to place a warm compress over the affected area to increase
blood flow and promote healing and drainage.
If an abscess has severely damaged
the overlying skin, surgery may be necessary to close
the open wound that results. However, this surgery cannot be performed
until the infection has resolved and the deeper tissue has begun to
show signs of healing.
Once an abscess has been treated appropriately,
healing usually occurs quite rapidly as long as a large amount of tissue
damage has not occurred. Cats typically recover from an uncomplicated
abscess within a week or so. If you are still noticing drainage,
swelling, pain, or lethargy at this point, call your veterinarian.
Two potential complications from bite
wounds between cats are feline leukemia (FELV) or feline immunodeficiency
virus (FIV) infections. If your cat is bitten by another cat carrying
one of these diseases, it is possible that she will become sick in the
future. To determine whether or not a particular encounter has
led to an infection, your cat should be tested approximately 60 days
after being potentially exposed. FELV and FIV screening can be
performed with just a few drops of blood and results are available within
minutes when in-clinic tests are used. All outdoor cats should
be tested annually for both FELV and FIV.
The above is provided for information purposes only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition.
This information does not cover all possible variables, conditions, reactions, or risks relating to any topic, medication, or product and should not
be considered complete. Certain products or medications may have risks and you should always consult your local veterinarian concerning the treatment of
your pet. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners.