Emo came to visit us in June after he had been in an altercation with another cat. His owners were away and his sitter noticed that he had a substantial wound on his neck after coming home one night. His sitter called our clinic for advice and made an appointment to see a veterinarian. Once he arrived at the clinic, it was determined that poor Emo had come off second best in a bust up.
In order to clean the wounded site, we clipped the area and thoroughly cleaned his wounds with sterile saline and dilute chlorhexadine. We then placed a bandage which required changes every few days.
Cats naturally have a lot of bacteria in their mouths. When one cat bites or scratches another they are introducing bacteria into the wound area, almost like injecting bacteria into the other cat. Normally the puncture wound is quite small but often quite deep and the surface will seal within a few hours, trapping the bacteria under the skin. For several days there may be no sign of infection but gradually swelling and pain at the puncture sight will occur.
There are two general types of infection. If the site of the bite is covered by loose skin, a pocket of pus will develop forming an abscess. In areas where the skin is not loose such as on the foot or the tail the infection spreads through the tissues and causes cellulitis.
Occasionally there may be more serious consequences such as a septic arthritis (infection of a joint space), osteomyelitis (infection of bone) or pyothorax (the chest cavity becomes filled with pus).
If you think that your cat has been in a cat fight and/or is showing any of the following signs, please contact our clinic to make an appointment.
- off colour/change in demeanor
- not interested in food
- crying/growling when touched in certain places
- reluctance to move