Game Over

Strike out your cat's chance to develop cat bite abscesses.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Posted: Tue Sep 28 00:00:00 PDT 2004

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BeeJay's abscess burst through the skin, leaving a small hole to the left of her tail base. The wound was cleansed and the placement of a drain was unnecessary. "It was kinda gross looking, but she felt much better afterward," Pastor said. Indeed, once an abscess is opened up so the pus can drain, most cats feel better immediately.

Antibiotic treatment, therefore, is an important part of abscess therapy "because oral bacteria are literally injected below the skin during the biting process," and nearly all of these wounds are infected, Norsworthy said. Penicillin derivatives are often used.

"Antibiotics are given for 5 to 10 days," Norsworthy said. Occasionally, some bite-wound infections do not respond to initial antibiotic therapy, and a bacterial culture and sensitivity test may be required to determine which bacteria are infecting the wound and which antibiotics are most effective.

Properly treated abscesses have excellent prognosis. However, the best prevention is to keep your cats indoors. Also, get your cats fixed, to reduce hormone-induced roaming and aggressive tendencies.

"BeeJay is an indoor cat now," Pastor said. "I love her too much to take chances."

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Reader Comments

Charlotte    Kingsport, TN

4/4/2013 7:46:07 AM

I would like to see advice on what can be done until medical treatment is available. I have 3 inside/outside cats right now all w severe abscesses. The norm was one every few years. All are getting anti-B and treatment now. Prior to vet visit I cut away surrounding fur, used warm wet compresses which gave some relief and opened the abscess.

janet    bethlehem, PA

4/30/2010 4:08:06 AM

good article thanks

Bonnie    Parma, OH

11/22/2006 11:06:33 PM

Mostly helpful, however, how do you treat the infection if the cat gets well enough that she is impossible to hold and you can't get the rest of the antiboiotics in her? I thought the 5 days was good, she seemed fine, now two weeks later, there is a nice neat lil hole with pus and cottage cheese looking discharge. AHHH!! (This isnt a bite. This is a removed peg tube site. She was tube fed for 3 months after a hit & run, broke her jaw.) If I can't get her to take pills and liquid, are there shots? I'm a medical assistant.. I do shots at work all the time... is there anything I can suggest to her vet? HELP!!

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