Abscesses can strike at any time in a cat’s life. So, if you have a feline in the house, you may find yourself with a cat abscess one day, and your pet will rely on your assistance to go back to its usual, happy self.
Continue reading to learn everything to learn more about cat abscesses, including what to do if they burst and when to seek veterinary assistance.
Abscesses are common in cats, but there are various reasons why one of these swellings may emerge. Some may go undiscovered by the cat owner until the bladder ruptures or other symptoms develop.
What is the Definition of Abscesses?
Abscesses are a pocket of pus that has become infected, and pus is a viscous fluid that contains bacteria, white blood cells, and other substances. They develop as a result of the body’s immune system’s reaction to an infection. Abscesses can be found all over a cat’s body and might develop to enormous proportions or remain modest. Some abscesses can get so massive that they rupture, allowing the pus to escape.
Abscesses are usually classified according to their location in the body. A tooth root abscess, for example, originates at the tip of a tooth root, while a subcutaneous abscess originates underneath the skin.
An abscess usually manifests itself as a painful swelling that is either firm to the touch or compressible like a water balloon (assuming it is not located inside a bodily cavity or deep within tissue). The abscess might be large or tiny, and if it is under the skin, it will likely cause redness and local tissue loss. Some abscesses rupture, releasing an unpleasant-smelling fluid.
Even if the abscess has ruptured and emptied to the outside of the body, a cat with an abscess will typically have a fever. If the abscess is inside the body (for example, in the liver), fever is likely. If the abscess has ruptured inside, there may be the added complication of a broad internal infection or germs in the circulation.
Symptoms of Abscesses in Cats
Abscesses can develop anywhere on the body, including underneath the skin, mouth, and organs like the liver and pancreas. The head, neck, limbs, back, and base of the tail are usually affected locations. Abscesses can progress to dangerous and sometimes fatal illnesses, including immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus if left untreated.
Among the signs and symptoms are:
- Indications of discomfort, such as limping or pawing at the afflicted area
- Fever, mainly if it occurs inside the body
- Skin that is red, puffy, or irritated
- Severe itchiness
- Pus on the skin or blood on the skin
- Hair loss around the abscess location
- Inflammation of the face and gums
- Gums that are bleeding
- Appetite loss.
Abscesses in cats commonly manifest as swelling underneath the skin, but they can also hide inside the body or under the gums in the mouth. Abscesses resemble a tumor or lump as a skin protrusion; however, they might emerge more abruptly. If the swelling spreads too far, the skin may rupture, and pus will ooze out. The leaky infected area has a foul odor as a result of this.
A cat with a mouth abscess may have particularly foul breath, refuse to eat, and become lethargic. Because abscesses inside the body indicate infection, they can cause tiredness and a decrease in appetite. A cat with a systemic disease will feel sick and develop a fever.
You may observe a thick, yellow, foul-smelling discharge and a hole in the abscessed area when an abscess ruptures. When pressure is applied to the size of swelling, you may see an indentation if the abscess is deep beneath the skin. Even after the abscess has ruptured and emptied to the body’s exterior, cats can have symptoms.
Causes of Cat Abscesses
Abscesses in Cats most commonly occur in the mouth and under the skin, but they can occur practically anywhere in or on a cat. Abscesses are characterized by the location in the body where they develop and are caused by a variety of microorganisms, including:
- Pasteurella multocida
- Streptococcus species
1. Dental abscesses:
Dental abscesses: Gingivitis occurs when bacteria build upon a tooth’s surface, causing the gums to become inflamed. If this bacterium is not removed by brushing or professional dental cleaning, it sticks to the tooth, collects saliva and food debris, and forms plaque and calculus. Abscesses can form beneath the gum line as a result of this. A tooth root abscess can develop if bacteria enter the root canal of a fractured or diseased tooth. Dental abscesses are prevalent in cats, but they can be hard to spot for the ordinary cat owner.
2. Abscesses from bite wounds:
Another animal must bite a cat to develop a bite wound abscess. This is why cats who spend time outside are more likely to create bite wound abscesses. When a cat is bitten, bacteria enter the wound, causing an abscess to form. These appear as lumps under the skin of cats and are frequently undetected by their owners until they rupture and begin to exude pus. These abscesses can be pretty hot to the touch and cause skin irritation.
3. Internal abscesses:
Internal abscesses develop on the internal organs of cats and are not visible from the outside. They are caused by inflammation, illness, and foreign objects. These are significantly less prevalent in cats than bite wounds and dental abscesses, but they do happen.
Diagnosing Cat Abscesses
If a vet-doc suspects a skin abscess in a cat caused by a bite wound or other injury, they may inject a needle with a syringe to see what’s within. If it’s an abscess, the pus will be drained, but it’s a tumor. These abscesses are usually easy to diagnose without a lot of testing.
A veterinarian will examine a cat’s mouth for signs of pus if a dental abscess is suspected, but sedation and X-rays will be required to evaluate the mouth thoroughly. X-rays will reveal abscesses, and dental probes will be utilized to inspect the teeth.
Ultrasound may help a veterinarian diagnose an internal abscess, but imaging of the pus-filled pocket may need to be done in the operation theatre. Internal abscesses are usually discovered by surgery.
Bacterial cultures are sometimes used to diagnose the precise type of bacteria that is causing the abscess. This will make it easier for the vet-doc to treat the abscess.
What is the treatment for a cat abscess?
The treatment will vary depending on the depth and severity of the illness. In most circumstances, your veterinarian will clean the abscess as much as possible and may give antibiotics to treat the disease and pain medication to alleviate your cat’s discomfort, if necessary. In some circumstances, the abscess may require surgical treatment.
While your cat’s wound heals, make sure the area is kept clean and that your cat has a chance to get away from the chaos of the house, especially if there are other pets present. Your feline should be back to its old self in a week or two.
If your cat has a tooth root abscess, your veterinarian may need to extract the tooth.
Is it possible for a cat to die from an abscess?
While most abscesses are reasonably easy to cure, a cat abscess can be life-threatening, mainly if it results from a wound inflicted by another cat. Infectious disorders like feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and rabies can be spread to your cat through bites or scratches from another cat. Because rabies may infect humans and cats, it’s critical to stay up with cat immunizations to reduce the chance of infection.
Is it possible to prevent cat abscesses?
The good news is that any feline owner can take steps to lower their pet’s risk of developing an abscess! Neutering your cat is essential for reducing the aggressive behavior that frequently leads to feline fights. Depending on the number and type of kitties in your area, it may be necessary to limit your cat’s outside time to prevent the danger of wounds. Tooth abscesses can be avoided by keeping your cat’s teeth clean.
Cat abscesses can go undiscovered for a long time because fur can hide them, especially if your cat has a long, fluffy coat. Giving your cat a monthly check-up is a fantastic approach to catch any strange symptoms early on.