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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Abscesses

Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Zac loves the great outdoors. Occasionally, despite copious marking of his territory someone invades his space. Usually they work it out, a growl here, a hiss there, but sometimes the
invader just doesn't take the hint.
Zac prefers not to fight, but if he has to he goes in with guns blazing.
Last week he came off second best. His carer noticed that he wasn't walking properly on his left front leg. When she looked closely his lower leg was swollen.
Zac wasn't interested in his breakfast and retired to bed while she phoned the vet. When she picked him up he cried and shook. Gently she brought him into Canberra Cat Vet.
Dr Georgia found tiny bite marks either side of his arm. His foe's tiny teeth had pierced the skin and left behind a bouquet of bacteria. The skin closed over almost immediately sealing out the oxygen that would kill these particular bacteria.
Pus had accumulated forming an abscess. The best treatment was to drain the pus and let some oxygen in to kill the bacteria. Zac woke from the anaesthetic feeling much better. 
After a few days of antibiotics and pain relief he was back to normal.
Dr Georgia advised Zac to stay indoors or in his outdoor enclosure to avoid further confrontations. 
Fortunately Zac is vaccinated against Feline AIDS with the FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) vaccine. Cat bites spread the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Dr Georgia says that all cats with outdoor access should be vaccinated against FIV.

Lumps and bumps

Thursday, July 26, 2018
   

Lumps under cats' skin can appear overnight or over a long period.
Abscesses from cat fights are soft and the skin is often inflamed. Once lanced and drained of pus most cat abscesses heal rapidly.
More worrisome are lumps that grow over a period of weeks or months or that are firm. Never ignore these types of bumps in a cat's skin. Malignant skin tumours are more prevalent in cats than in dogs or other species. We should address them as quickly as possible to prevent local spread and invasion of the body.
Point out any unusual swelling or lump to your vet. A simple check of cells under the microscope will give us some idea of what it is. We may recommend biopsy or removal and send the lump to the pathology lab as a result.
The pathologist will tell us what the lump is, how benign or malignant it is and whether the surgeon has removed all of it. Often we will also find out if it is in the lymphatic system or nearby blood vessels. 
Squamous cell carcinomas (skin cancer) are the most common skin tumour in the cat. They present more as ulceration of pale ears and noses than as lumps. Excision or freezing of the affected part or skin, and avoidance of the sun treats many of these cancers.
Sarcomas break all the rules however. While they remain encapsulated under the skin and rarely invade other organs, they frequently grow so large that they impede the cat's mobility and make life very uncomfortable. Also removing all of a sarcoma is no guarantee that it won't grow back.

Cat fights

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cats typically have a hate-hate relationship with any strange cat in their presence, yard, or environment.

When new cats meet, they fluff up, spit, hiss – more like scream! – and the fur soon goes flying. While the brawl may only last a few seconds, that’s enough time for a few diseases to jump bodies.

Feline leukemia (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus or cat AIDS (FIV), infectious peritonitis (FIP), or nasty bacterial infections are transmitted from cat to cat in saliva.

Outside cats, particularly unneutered males, love to fight. Most times they will end up with a nasty abscess. An abscess is a pocket of pus under the skin. It makes a cat very ill because of the bacteria and toxins it releases into the bloodstream. He is feverish, goes off his food, hides and sleeps a lot. Treatment for abscesses involves a general anaesthesia, clipping and cleaning the skin, lancing the abscess and flushing all the pus out, placing a drain to allow any new pus to empty, antibiotics and pain relief. Some cats are so sick they need hospitalisation and intravenous fluids for a night or two.

How do we avoid all this??

  • Desex your cat if he is still entire.
  • Keep him indoors, particularly in the evenings and at night when the brawling usually happens.
  • Keep other cats off your property. A dog on patrol will soon despatch an intruder. Otherwise keep an eye out for a few evenings and frighten strays off with a loud noise.
  • Catch the infection as soon as possible. If your cat has been in a fight bring him immediately for an antibiotic shot to discourage the abscess from forming.
  • Vaccinate your cat against FIV, Feline AIDS. There are three shots in the initial course. A booster at the annual checkup and vaccine review prevents the virus gaining a toe hold.  

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