Win the Abscess War with right treatment
If cats have some poisonous elements and it doesn’t want it in the body, it tries to flush the poison into the flesh which causes an abscess as an attempt to get rid of the unwanted harmful elements. Abscess is like a small war and the offending poison is the army.
This is where the white blood cells come into play and try to get rid of the germ. One of the most important thing to note is – ‘NEVER squeeze an abscess/boil’. By squeezing, you are pressing the poison back into the blood.
Signs and symptoms
- Area looks swollen and warm
- Painful on touching
It is not easy to judge an abscess with just these symptoms. It is possible it could be tumour and sometimes a swelling that is diagnosed as a tumour can be an abscess.
How to clean an abscess?
In a bowl of warm water, add a few tablespoons of salt. Soak a clean cloth it, squeeze out the excess and hold it against the infected area. Repeat the process for about 10 -15 minutes. Don’t forget to pat dry the area at the end.
If after 2 – 3 days of doing this procedure, the swelling doesn’t heal, you must consult your vet. Also if there is an abscess near the eye or jaw then don’t delay taking your cat to the vet. It can be some kind of infection causing the swelling.
Diagnosis and treatment
It is always the best to take the cat to the veterinarian, who will decide if it needs to be lanced, or bathed until it opens on its own. Your vet would also make the decision whether any antibiotics need to be prescribed to clear up the infection.
In some case the vet might not give medication immediately. It is often more beneficial to assist the body with gentle heat until the body has begun to heal itself and then prescribe antibiotics.
Once an abscess has burst, home aid consists of bathing the area as stated above – hydrogen peroxide can be used instead of salt at this stage. It’ll help dry up the pus and cuts the foul odour of infection. But make sure you talk to your vet before applying it on or around the area. It is advised that the abscess should not be bandaged and the area should be kept open to avoid germ build up.
Unfortunately Tom cats often get bad abscesses and infections as they go out and fight with other Tom cats and get nasty scratches. The best way to avoid it is to get your cat neutered and try and keep them indoors as much as possible.
As a pet parent it is your responsibility to keep the little one safe. Groom your cat regularly to keep a close watch on the condition of the coat and skin. It would also help you notice any cuts, lesions, or infection.
(Joan Henderson is an International All Breeds Judge based in Melbourne. She has judged furry felines in many countries including USA, Bermuda, Malaysia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Philippines and New Zealand.)