An abscess is a walled-off collection of pus caused by a bacterial infection. Pus is a collection of live and dead bacteria, dead tissue, white blood cells, and other cells called on to defend your pet’s body. Any damage to the skin, especially lacerations or puncture wounds, can admit bacteria into the underlying tissue. Cats may form abscesses if their immune system is “sick” (i.e., feline leukemia virus or my infection). If the cat’s body cannot fight the bacteria, the tissue will be damaged and an abscess will form. An abscess is potentially dangerous: if prompt medical and surgical attention is not provided, the infection can spread to the chest, brain, heart, kidneys, or liver via the bloodstream.
An abscess is characterized by a warm swelling that is painful to the touch. Your cat may also be lethargic and have a fever. A common occurrence is having a cat brought to the office with lameness and lethargy that has become worse over a few days. Pressing on each area of the limb, hip, or shoulder may elicit pain. The owner thinks the cat’s leg is broken but swelling and scab over a healed bite wound can be felt. The cat’s rectal temperature can be 104°F to 105°F.
Cat Abscess Home Remedies
A cat that has an abscess should be seen by your doctor because the potential for tissue damage or death from bacterial toxins is high unless proper wound cleaning and/or surgery and antibiotic treatment are done.
If you can’t see a veterinarian, you will have to treat the abscess at home. Wear disposable gloves for this task. If the abscess is open and draining, probe and clean the wound with a cotton-tipped applicator. Remove any hair, wood slivers, or other matter that may be in the wound. Pour a small amount of hydrogen peroxide (3 percent) into the wound, three times daily, or use an eyedropper or turkey baster. Press on the swelling to help the hydrogen peroxide flush the wound.
If the abscess has not burst, apply hot towels to the area to help bring it to a head. When you can feel a soft spot in the swelling, use a clean razor blade to nick the swelling. The pus should drain out easily. Probe and flush the wound as just explained. Try to get your cat on antibiotics as soon as possible.
Cat Abscess Treatment
Your doctor will probe the wound for dirt, debris, and foreign material and may flush the abscess with antibiotic, sterile saline, or hydrogen peroxide solutions or surgically debride the area (remove dead and infected tissue). A drain may be left in the wound to allow flushing of the wound for a few days. Antibiotics will be given for one week. A blood count, feline leukemia test, FTLV test, bacterial and fungal cultures, and skin biopsies may be done.
See more: Cat Abdominal Pain