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How To Treat Fight Wounds On A Cat

Final Video: A cat has scratch wounds in the face

This article was co-authored by Lauren Baker, DVM, PhD. Dr. Baker is a Veterinarian and PhD candidate in Comparative Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Baker received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin in 2016, and went on to pursue a PhD through her work in the Comparative Orthopaedic Research Laboratory. This article has been viewed 51,748 times.

Cats sometimes get into a fight when they come across new cats or want to establish dominance. When cats fight, they use their teeth, which can lead to bite wounds. When a cat bites another cat, their teeth transmits bacteria to the wound. These bites heal over quickly, which causes the bacteria to get trapped under the skin. This can lead to infections and abscesses.XResearch source To treat fight wounds, take you cat to the vet as soon as possible, get it antibiotics, and have any abscesses drained.

First Aid: How To Care For A Wounded Cat

  • If the wound is bleeding, apply firm pressure with sterile gauze for a few minutes to halt the bleeding.
  • Some of the fur around the wound may be trimmed to help prevent infection and make the area easier to clean. This also increases airflow and may make recovery easier.
  • Flush the wound with clean water or sterile saline, and if possible, wash it with some antibacterial soap to help clean the area and remove any bacteria or debris. It is sometimes okay to rinse the wound with diluted hydrogen peroxide and water if nothing else is available however, undiluted hydrogen peroxide is actually cytotoxic and can damage tissue.
  • Finally, a thin layer of cat-safe antibacterial ointment may be applied to prevent infection.
  • Treating A Superficial Scratch

  • 1Wash your hands. Before working with the area that suffered a scratch, be sure that your hands are clean and disinfected. Wash your hands using soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to clean between your fingers and under your fingernails. Then rinse your hands well with clean water.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source
  • 2Rinse the wound. Use clean running water from your faucet to rinse the cat scratch and the area around it.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source Avoid overly hot water, which may worsen any bleeding that is present.
  • 3Wash the scratched area. Carefully wash the area of the scratch with a gentle soap. Try to wash areas near the wound as well as the scratch itself After washing, rinse completely with clean water from the faucet.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • Do not scrub the wounded area during washing, as this could add further injury to the injured tissues.
  • Triple antibiotic ointment can be applied to the wound three times daily.XResearch source
  • Bacitracin is a good alternative for anyone who has an allergy to common triple antibiotic ointments.
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    Warning Signs Of Cancer In Cats

  • Weight loss, even if your kitty seems to be eating the same amount as ever.
  • Unusual lumps or swellings anywhere on your cat’s body, especially if they’re getting larger or changing shape.
  • Swollen lymph nodes are a symptom of lymphoma. The lymph nodes behind the knees and under the jaws are easiest to find.
  • Difficulty eating, swallowing, or digesting. The clue might be a loss of appetite.
  • Discharge or unexplained bleeding from the gums, mouth, nose, penis, vagina, or any other place. Sores that don’t heal are a cause for concern.
  • Chronic digestive problems, including vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Coughing or trouble breathing. A persistent, dry, non-productive cough can be a symptom of lung cancer.
  • Bad breath may indicate oral cancer, although it’s also a symptom of a sinus infection.
  • Straining to urinate or defecate. If your cat’s litter box habits change, it may be a sign.
  • Loss of stamina and general tiredness. Does your cat seem stiff or lethargic? Some owners mistakenly assume their cat is just getting older.
  • A sudden change in temperament, especially if your kitty suddenly gets grouchy and wants to be left alone. He may be in pain.
  • Reclusiveness. If your formerly friendly companion suddenly hides herself away, this may be a survival mechanism. A sick cat will hide from predators until it recovers.
  • Diagnosis Of Skin Ulcers In Cats

    Hi Dr. Matt,My cat has a sore on her head between her eye

    Skin ulcers in a cat takes a timely differential diagnosis, as this skin condition can be caused by numerous conditions. Diagnosis of a skin ulcers in cats will require a review of the cats medical history, plus a great deal of communication between the pet owner and the veterinarian. Pet owners will be required to tell the veterinarian when the ulcer was first noted, where the cat spends most of her time and what the pet owner suspects could be the cause of the skin problem. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, the veterinarian may choose to perform a variety of diagnostic tests including:

    • Skin cultures: swabbing the skin and examining the sample will determine if the ulceration is caused by an infection of bacteria, or fungus.
    • Aspiration of Fluids: Syphoning a small sample of the draining fluids can be used to determine possible caused when examined under a microscope.
    • Skin biopsy: a portion of the surrounding tissue may be removed to be examined in a laboratory setting.

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    Your Cat Has Had A Fight But There Aren’t Any Bite Marks

    Puncture wounds heal very quickly so there is often nothing to see or feel. The most common sites of bites are on the head, forelimbs or at the base of the tail. If cats have been bitten on a limb, the leg is usually painful and lameness is seen. It may be possible to feel heat and swelling in the area of the bite. Some cats may just be lethargic and have a fever. Many cats will excessively groom the injured area.

    How Should I Manage An Open Wound At Home

    Following the specific instructions of your veterinarian, clean the wound two to three times daily with a mild antiseptic solution or warm water to remove any crusted discharge and keep wound edges clean. Do not clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide, witch hazel, or alcohol.

    “Do not clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide, witch hazel, or alcohol.”

    The wound may be bandaged to protect it from further contamination, or to prevent your cat from excessively licking it. Daily bandage changes, as demonstrated by your veterinarian, may be required if there is a lot of discharge from the wound.

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    What Should I Do If A Wound Is Bleeding

    Initially attempt to stop the bleeding by applying direct pressure to the wound with an absorbent dressing such as dry gauze, followed by a layer of bandage material or a clean dry cloth. This will protect the wound during transport to the veterinary clinic and prevent any further contamination of the injury.

    If possible, try to raise the affected area above the level of the heart. This will help reduce the flow of blood to the bleeding area.

    Do not apply ointments, creams, disinfectants, or any other chemicals to the wound , as they can interfere with its eventual healing.

    Will A Cat Abscess Heal On Its Own

    Pup with Terrible Wound on Face, Vet Ranch

    Left untreated, some abscesses will burst and heal naturally. Unfortunately, some cases will develop serious consequences such as pyothorax , septic arthritis , and tissue necrosis . Either way, your cat would be in significant pain during this time so veterinary advice is always recommended.

    If you think your cat may have an abscess, receive expert advice on how to treat it at Animal Trust. Book a free consultation today.

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    Signs Of An Abscess In A Cat

    Cat abscess symptoms can be quite vague at first, with your cat showing signs such as:

    • Pain
    • Fever
    • Lethargy .

    After two to four days, the following signs may be seen as the abscess develops:

    • Swelling
    • Large wounds if the abscess has burst
    • A painful or floppy tail if the top of the tail has been bitten
    • Lameness if the leg or foot has been infected
    • Pain .

    Treatment Of Skin Ulcers In Cats

    Treatment of skin ulcers in cats vary depending on the underlying cause of the skin condition. Your veterinarian will tailor a treatment plan to your cats specific condition and overall health. The majority of felines can receive treatments at home as an outpatient, but if your cat requires supportive care, she may be required to stay in the clinic for a few days. An Elizabethan collar is often sent home with patients to prevent the cat from licking, biting or scratching at the ulceration, making the problem worse. Pain medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics and antifungal medications are just a few medical options your veterinarian may recommend to your cat with a skin ulceration.

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    Why Cats Get Abscesses

    Cat fight abscesses are a direct result of three special features of cats:

  • Anaerobic bacteria found in the saliva of cats that tend to form abscesses
  • Needle-shaped teeth and claws, perfect for injecting these bacteria under the skin
  • The tendency for fighting between cats who dont live together
  • Once bacteria get introduced, they rapidly spread in the low oxygen environment. The first sign is a hot, swollen and sore area we call cellulitis. This stage is usually missed unless it happens on a leg, where the swelling and pain are easy to see.

    If your cat is lucky enough, cellulitis can be cured just with a course of antibiotics. Thats why its always a great idea to get a sore or limping cat to the vet straight away.

    The formation of pus changes everything. Now the body literally starts building a wall around the infection that will eventually become the abscess capsule. At this point, antibiotics are helpful, but can no longer bring about a cure.

    Its time for surgery.

    What Should I Do If I Know My Cat Has Just Been Bitten

    Cut On Front Of Cats Nose!

    If you know that your cat has been in a fight, notify your veterinarian immediately. Antibiotics given within 24 hours will often stop the spread of infection and may prevent the development of an abscess. If several days have passed since the fight, an abscess will usually form, requiring more involved medical treatment.

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    Cat Skin Wounds And How To Treat Them

    If you have an outdoor cat or multiple indoor cats, then chances are you’re at least a little familiar with cat skin wounds. In fact, most feline skin wounds are inflicted on a cat by a member of its own species. Take a closer look at why this happens and how you can help your pet.

    What Else Could It Be

    An abscess is the only common explanation for a large lump that comes up quickly on a cat, especially if its sore to touch. However, other possible explanations include:

    • a tumour
    • and even cancer

    For it to be an abscess, the cat also should have had contact with other cats. Youll see why in a minute.

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    Reasons To Be Careful

    After all seems done and dusted, theres still a reason to stay wary. Cat fights that lead to abscesses are probably the leading way for cats to catch feline immunodeficiency virus, or FIV.

    Theres no better prevention for both abscesses and FIV than being kept away from other cats. I sympathise with owners who feel their cats need to be outside. Ive even done it myself. But my final word is this: bringing a cat indoors can make a happy cat even be happier with just a little effort.

    Have something to add? Comments are welcome below and will appear within 24 hours. By Andrew Spanner BVSc MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. The information provided here is not intended to be used as a substitute for going to the vet. If your pet is unwell, please seek veterinary attention.

    Please note: While Im happy to give advice where I can, comments intended to avoid seeing a vet will be deleted without reply. There is no other sensible alternative.

    How To Care For An Injured Cat

    An old cat has a right facial swelling with pus oozing out of a hole. Malar abscess Part 2/2
    tags

    Have you ever come home at the end of a long day to find an injured cat? If you’ve lived with cats for any length of time, you’ll no doubt have a story or two to tell. Whether it’s a swollen face, a bleeding ear or an impressive limp, feline injuries are common even for indoor kitties. Learn the basics of cat wound care to help your cat immediately after an injury and while she’s recovering from veterinary treatment.

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    Recovery Of Skin Ulcers In Cats

    The prognosis of skin ulcers in cats depends on the underlying condition that caused the felines skin to ulcerate. Follow-up care with your veterinarian is highly important to ensure the wound is healing and the therapeutic treatments are working as planned. Felines with underlying disease or poor health can often develop secondary infection to the ulcer, and should be evaluated for evidence of complications.

    Conditions related to skin ulcers can be expensive to treat. To avoid high vet care expenses, secure pet health insurance today. The sooner you insure your pet, the more protection youll have from unexpected vet costs.

    *Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

    Skin Ulcers Average Cost

    Why Do Cats Fight

    Cats are instinctively very territorial. They fight with other cats to protect their territory or to acquire more territory. As a result, fight wounds are common in cats. In cats, over 90% of infected wounds result from cat bites sustained during a fight with another cat. Dog, rat, and other rodent bites can occur but they are much less common.

    Fight wounds frequently result in infection that can make cats quite ill, especially if left untreated. Fight wounds are more common in male cats than females and are most frequent in intact males.

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    When Is A Wound An Emergency

    First aid and urgent vet treatment is essential for:

    • Bleeding wounds
    • Deep wounds
    • Wounds that contain an object such as glass
    • Eye injuries
    • Dirty or infected wounds

    Remember, the wound you see on the surface may not be the whole extent of the damage. If youre worried, contact your vet.

    Minor cuts and grazes

    Most small cuts are grazes heal in a few days if they are kept clean and dry. Make sure you check and clean your pets wound daily and stop them licking it until its fully healed. You may need to use a buster collar, protective body suit or T-shirt to stop your pet reaching their wound. Contact your vet for advice if your dogs wound isnt healing quickly, or looks infected.

    Large cuts and grazes

    Large or deep wounds are often very painful and get easily infected. A large/deep wound should always be examined by a vet immediately. Treatment is likely to include pain relief, antibiotics, a bandage, staples, stitches or even surgery. Its likely that your pet will need restricted exercise while they recover because a lot of movement around a wound can slow healing.

    • Its sensible to rinse dirt out of a wound but dont try to remove anything large, such as a piece of glass. Apply a temporary bandage over the wound , but make sure it doesnt push the object further into the wound.
    • If your pet has a wound that is bleeding heavily, apply firm pressure to it and take them to a vet as soon as possible. Read our first aid advice for bleeding wounds.

    Can Cat Abscesses Be Prevented

    Shelter Cat Given Time to Heal Huge Abscess On Face

    The good news is that any cat owner can take action to reduce the chances of their pet suffering from an abscess! Neutering your cat is important to reduce the aggressive behaviour that so often results in feline stand-offs. Depending on the number and nature of cats in your neighbourhood, its sometimes appropriate to restrict your cats time outdoors to reduce the risk of wounds. Keeping your cats teeth clean can help prevent tooth abscesses as well.

    Cat abscesses often remain unnoticed for some time as they can be concealed by fur, especially if your cat has a long and fluffy coat. Giving your cat a once-over every month is a great way to spot any unusual signs early on. If youre not sure how to do this, read our Cat Health Checklist article for tips on conducting a careful check to make sure everything is well with your pet.

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    Is A Cat Abscess An Emergency

    A cat bite abscess is not classed as an emergency in most cases, although it can be unpleasant and painful. If your cat seems in pain, is very lame, off its food, or seems unwell then it is always worth contacting your local Animal Trust Surgery for advice and/or an appointment.

    Occasionally abscesses can lead to huge wounds as the abscess bursts, and/ or cause an infection that spreads around the body via the bloodstream, making the cat very unwell. Because of the vague symptoms early on and the potential for serious complications in certain cases, seeking veterinary advice is important.

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