Cats fighting between themselves or being attacked can develop bacterial infections resulting in abscesses.
What signs will your cat show?
- Dull, lethargic and not keen to eat
- If the abscess has been developing for a while you may notice a swelling on the body that is painful for your when you touch it
- Your cat’s ears or nose may feel hotter than normal, suggesting a high temperature, and you may notice an increase in respiratory rate
- If the abscess bursts, the hair may be matted with discharge (pus) from an abscess, and may be smelly.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (Feline AIDS) is transmitted via bites from other cats. This can be a very debilitating disease that will reduce your pet’s lifespan.
The main treatment is to allow the abscess to drain. This may be achieved in a consult, but sometimes a general anaesthetic is required to do this properly and without inflicting more pain on the patient. The wound will need to be clipped and cleaned and your cat may need a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories if really swollen and painful. Large abscesses need to be opened, drained and flushed. Sometimes a surgical drain is sutured in place to allow for continued drainage of abscess fluid.
How to reduce the chances of abscesses forming
- Keep your cat indoors home during the night (or have a totally indoor cat)
- Desexing your cat will reduce sexual and territorial aggression, resulting in less violent confrontations with neighbouring cats
- If your cat appears sore, lame, lethargic or not eating or you notice a swelling seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.
Early treatment of fight wounds can reduce the chances of an abscess forming, though sometimes they can develop in spite of antibiotic cover.
Your cat should be confined after treatment or surgery. The vet may ask you to return for a free post op check 2-3 days after the surgery. Drains are usually removed by day 5. You can bathe around the drainage holes with salty water twice a day to prevent the hair from matting with the discharge and attracting. Any additional sutures usually removed10 days after the surgery.