An abscess occurs when a cat gets bitten or scratched by another cat, and then the wound becomes infected. Cats are prone to these because their wounds tend to close up quickly with little blood flow, which means bacteria can easily become trapped and cause an infection. The following guide can help you recognize an abscess quickly so you can begin proper treatment before an infection becomes severe.
What makes a cat more prone to abscesses?
Outdoor cats and cats in multi-cat households are most likely to experience an abscess simply because they are more likely to get into small fights with other animals. For indoor cats, you can help prevent these skirmishes by having plenty of toys and scratching posts available to discourage aggression. You can also trim your cats' nails or use claw covers to minimize scratching within the household.
Can something be done as soon as a wound is recognized?
You can minimize the chances of an abscess occurring by cleaning a wound promptly. Use an antiseptic approved for use on cats. One specifically made for cats that contains iodine is best, as those that contain alcohol or peroxide can be deadly to cats. Carefully clean the wound with water and then apply the antiseptic in a thin layer. Keep an eye on the wound site for several days to make sure an infection doesn't doesn't set in. Abscesses can form several days after a wound has appeared to heal.
What are the signs of an abscess?
The most apparent sign is a swelling in the abscess location. The abscess appears red and swollen, and it may be hot to the touch. If you cat is acting listless and refusing to eat, chances are they have developed a fever and an abscess infection could be the cause. Gently probe your cat's body for any tender spots, then part the fur to see if there is an abscess at such spots.
How can an abscess be treated?
Treatment is straight forward. For minor abscesses, your vet will drain the wound and prescribe antibiotics. More severe abscesses may require surgery to to cut open the wound, drain it, and then to trim away any skin that has become necrotic. Most cats recover within a few days of draining and antibiotic administration. The wound will need to be kept clean until it has healed so a second abscess doesn't form.
For more help, contact an emergency vet clinic in your area..