Cat Bite & Fight Abscesses (CBA) are one of the most common injuries that we see in outdoor cats.These abscesses form in cats as a result of fights with other cats.
Initially, the wounds that cause them are usually rather small – especially from bites or possibly from puncture wounds made with the claws.
These, seemingly small, wounds are almost always sustained when cats FACE OFF or when they RUN. Therefore, they are often found on the face, shoulders and forelimbs OR on the tail, rump or backside. Rarely, on the belly, back or sides. Often these small wounds go unnoticed, or you might figure that they’re small and not painful, so you don’t do anything about them. Even if it’s not a painful wound initially, that’s a big mistake! Cat bites carry LOTS of bacteria into the wound.
Treatment with antibiotics at this early stage can prevent formation of an abscess.
Without appropriate treatment, bacteria will multiply. Within a few days, significant amounts of pus are produced. By this time the original puncture wound has closed over, so with nowhere to go, the pus builds up in the area beneath the wound. It becomes swollen, painful and the toxins produced by the bacteria will destroy the surrounding tissues (fat, muscle and skin). The infection may also cause your cat to run a high temperature, go off its food and become quite ill. At this stage, anaesthesia and surgery is often the only successful form of treatment.
Bring your cat in for treatment as soon as you notice a puncture wound – or if you see them in a fight with another cat. Early intervention with antibiotics and wound management can often avoid the need for surgery.
How can abscesses be prevented?
Keep your cat confined indoors, particularly at night. Or invest in one of the outdoor cat runs that can be erected in your yard. Have your cat de-sexed. This is particularly important for male cats, who are more territorial and get into a lot of fights.
And finally, the issue of disease transmission.
If your cat is going to continue to go outdoors, ensure he/she is up to date with their vaccines. FIV (Feline AIDs) and FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) are two of the major virus’ that can be transmitted during cat fights. Once a cat is infected with the virus there is unfortunately no cure and the cat will remain positive. Covering for these diseases might involve doing a simple in-house test to ensure your cat is free of the virus, and then beginning the vaccination course.
Should you have any questions or concerns please contact Bentleigh Veterinary Clinic on 03 9557 9500.
Bentleigh Veterinary Clinic is a Family owned business in Centre Road, Bentleigh 3204. Our vets have been serving local pets an pet owners in Bentleigh, Bentleigh East, Hampton, Hampton East, Moorabbin, Oakleigh South, Oakleigh, Huntingdale, Murrumbeena, Caulfied South, Caulfield, Elsternwick, Brighton, McKinnon, Ormond, Hughesdale, Glenhuntly for over 20 years.