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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 19670
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats and am happy to discuss any questions you have.
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I dont have a car and dont live near a vet. My cat came

Resolved Question:

I don't have a car and don't live near a vet. My cat came in with a small cut in his side a week ago. It seemed to heal quickly, but now it has opened again and I fear infection. It's about 1 1/2 inches long, red in colour. He doesn't mind being handled and shows no sign of discomfort when his wound is touched. He's eating and doing everything else normally, though he's sleeping a lot more than usual. I have antiseptic ointment for human cuts and wounds. Would this be entirely inappropriate for a cat? Thank you.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

This is not an uncommon situation, since infected wounds often heal in cats leading to bacteria getting trapped under the skin. This then turns into an abscess, which eventually ruptures, heals and repeats the cycle if the infection is not stamped out. If a cat has a raging bacterial infection, we can see some of them sleep more, eat less, become lethargic, and develop fevers (just as infections will cause in us).

Now realistically, a course of antibiotics would be the most forward way to make sure you settled this for him properly. I appreciate that you do not drive and your vet isn't nearby, but you can request you local vet to come to you via home visit. This is a service most UK vets offer (though do be aware they likely cannot come out until Monday since often there is only one vet available per practice on the weekend for emergencies only) and could be an option to consider this week for your lad. You can find your local vets via the RCVS Register (HERE) and consider contacting them if your kitty becomes any more withdrawn or doesn't settle with the home care I will now outline.

Now if the wound is open, you can start topically treating it. I would stay away from antiseptic ointments intended for people because there are a range of them that are not safe for cats. Instead, if he is amenable, you want to clean/flush the wound 3% hydrogen peroxide, salt water (1tbsp salt to a pint warm water) and/or diluted antiseptic (either chlorohexidine or iodine, both should be diluted to a weak tea like color). This should be done at least three times a day, and discharges should be washed away. If he is amenable, you can also use a syringe (wo/ a needle) to flush the inside of the puncture/rupture hole where the discharge is originating. This will help reduce bacterial populations in the wound any may even help this heal cleanly without antibiotics. Of course, if any bacteria manage to hide in the wound while it heals, we could see this again become an abscess.

Further to flushing the wound, and as long as you can prevent him from licking or washing this area, you can also apply OTC triple antibiotic cream (instead of any antiseptic ointment) to the wound but do avoid those with numbing agents since those are not cat friendly either.

Overall, at this stage, the key to addressing an infected wound would be to cleanse and flush the bacteria from the open wound. If it is very swollen, you can also consider gently warm compressing the area. Further to this, you can use a topical antibiotic to reduce infection risks. To keep him from bothering the area, you can consider placing a buster collar or a baby tshirt (if it will cover the area) with an elasticated bottom. This will prevent further licking, scratching, or introduction of more bacterial into the wound. These steps will help reduce the risk of abscess formation and aid healing. Of course, if he is very unwell with this or you do see recurrence due to bacteria remaining in the wound then it'd be ideal to have the vet out for a home visit so that they can dispense antibiotics to sort this for him.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 19670
Experience: I am a small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats and am happy to discuss any questions you have.
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