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Bite Wounds and Abscesses (Feline)

Cats have sharp teeth equally good for catching prey or inflicting deep puncture wounds. These wounds are prevalent on cats living out of doors and typically the result of fights with other cats.

inSince the mouth is an environment filled with bacteria, bite wounds can transfer bacteria deep into the body where it has an excellent place to grow. Because these bites are usually small puncture wounds and hidden by the fur, they are difficult to detect visually. You may be unaware of a problem until the first signs of infection and irritation arise. These signs include bleeding, limping, swelling, drainage, lack of appetite, lethargy and of course visible sores.

inThe development of an abscess can result and typically happens quickly. When the the body's natural defense against bacteria (white blood cells) start fighting and the killing bacteria, pus-filled pockets called abscesses can form.

inIf close to the surface, the abscess will eventually drain on its own. The central area of skin, deprived of its blood supply, slowly dies and falls off, allowing pus to escape. The cat feels better right away and the wound heals. Unfortunately, the abscess usually comes back, because the wound heals with some of the infection still inside.

Abscess treatment:
inTo prevent the long period of illness before an abscess drains on its own, and to keep the abscess from coming back afterwards, it is drained surgically. The abscess is opened at the bottom and top, flushed with an antibacterial solution and a Penrose drain tube is placed. This drain tube keeps the hole open and pus continues to drain for a day or so and the abscess begins to heal. After the tube is removed, the surgical incisions will heal on their own.

Abscess prevention:
inBite wound abscesses can usually be prevented if antibiotics are given within the first twenty four hours. If your cat spends time outside and is prone to fights, check it regularly for bite wounds and contact our office for a consultation if you find your cat has such a wound.