Abscess in cats, there are numerous additional conditions that could result in one of these swollen places.
A cat owner might not even be aware of some of them until they rupture or exhibit other symptoms. Knowing what to look out for and how to treat a cat abscess is necessary for keeping a cat happy and healthy.
What is an abscess?
An abscess is a collection of pus that has become infected and is loaded with bacteria, white blood cells, and other substances. They emerge as a result of the body’s response to an infection. In addition to a thorough teeth cleaning, tooth extractions may be necessary for tooth root abscesses. Some abscesses can grow so large that they rupture, enabling pus to escape.
Signs of an Abscess in Cat
- Localized swelling
- Oozing from a swelling
- Foul smell
- Bad breath
- Lack of appetite
The swelling under the skin of a cat with an abscess is usual, but they can also be deep inside the body or in the mouth beneath the gums. Abscesses can appear more suddenly as an enlarging of the skin that mimics a lump or tumor. If the swelling spreads too much, the skin can split and start to seep pus. As a result, the area where the leak is occurring is affected and smells unpleasant.
If a mouth abscess is present, a cat may have particularly bad breath, not want to eat, and become lethargic. Internal abscesses can also result in exhaustion and a decrease in appetite because they are indicators of an infection. A systemic illness in a cat causes sickness and a temperature.
The causes of feline abscesses
Although they can develop almost anywhere in or on a cat, abscesses are most usually discovered in the mouth and just below the skin. E. coli, several Streptococcus species, Pseudomonas, Mycoplasma, Pasteurella multocida, Corynebacterium, Actinomyces, Nocardia, Bartonella, Bacteroides, Clostridium, and Fusobacterium are only a few of the bacteria that can cause abscesses. They are often categorized based on where in the body they show up.
Dental abscesses are differentiated by developing around diseased teeth and occurring inside the mouth. Gingivitis is brought on by a buildup of germs on a tooth’s surface, which makes the gums swell. If you don’t brush your teeth or have a professional clean your teeth, these bacteria will attach to the tooth, collect saliva and food particles, and eventually create plaque and calculus. Gumline abscesses could develop as a result. If that bacteria gets into the root canal of an unhealthy or infected tooth, like one with a resorptive lesion, it can cause a tooth root abscess. Dental abscesses are common in cats, but they may be difficult for the average cat owner to notice.
Abscesses from bite wounds: A cat must be bitten by another animal in order to develop an abscess from a bite wound. As a result, cats who spend time outside have a higher risk of developing bite wound abscesses. Bacteria that enter the wound from a cat bite cause an abscess to form. Usually, cat owners don’t notice these until they rupture and begin to ooze pus beneath their cats’ skin, where they manifest as lumps. The skin around these abscesses may become inflamed and heated to the touch.
Internal abscesses: Inflammation, disease, and foreign objects can cause internal abscesses, which form on the internal organs of cats but cannot be seen from the outside of the animal. Although far less frequently than cat bite injuries and dental abscesses, these do occur.
Diagnosing Cat Abscesses
If a veterinarian suspects a skin abscess from a bite wound or other injury on a cat they may stick a needle with a syringe attached into it in order to see what is inside. If it is an abscess, pus will be will be drained out but if it is a tumor it will not. These types of abscesses are typically very easy to diagnose without much testing.
If a dental abscess is suspected, a veterinarian will examine a cat’s mouth for evidence of pus but anesthesia and X-rays will need to be performed to thoroughly inspect the mouth. Abscesses will show up on X-rays and dental probes will undoubtedly be used to examine the teeth.
If an internal abscess is suspected, ultrasound may aid a veterinarian in diagnosing it but visualization of the pus filled pocket may need to be done in the operating room. Surgery is typically needed to find internal abscesses.
Sometimes bacterial cultures will be performed in order to diagnose the specific type of bacteria evoking the abscess. This will aid the veterinarian in treating the abscess.
Treatment of Cat Abscesses
Antibiotics and other medications will undoubtedly be used to treat the abscess. Abscesses can be found throughout the body and can swell to be very large or remain small in a cat. Surgery may be required to lance skin abscesses to allow the infection to drain or to remove the abscess if it is internal.
How to Prevent Cat Abscesses
Regular dental care is key to helping prevent dental care abscesses from forming. Some cats have more problems than others with dental disease but keeping their teeth clean can help prevent abscesses.
Keeping cats indoors will help prevent bite wound abscesses. This isn’t always possible of course but a cat can’t get a bite wound without another animal being around so it is the best way to prevent them.