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Linda Simon
Linda Simon, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
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Experience:  MVB MRCVS
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He's recovering from 2 absesses. He's had a collar on now

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He's recovering from 2 absesses. He's had a collar on now but in trying to clean himself (we've been cleaning the wound daily) it looks like he's spent the day jamming his collar into the wound and now it's all open again, oozing, it smells and he is clearly in a lot of distress. He's trying to clean it and jamming his cone further into it. We don't know what to do for the best. We will take him for antibiotics tomorrow because I do believe it is now infected but how can we help him tonight?
Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What sort of animal are we talking about?
Customer: A cat
Assistant: Is the cat bleeding a lot?
Customer: It's pus more than anything but there is a bit of blood in it
Assistant: What is the cat's name?
Customer: Gruber
Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Gruber?
Customer: He had 2 courses of antibiotics already but the absesses (from cat bites) were settling down

Hi there, you are through to Dr Linda. Just a few minutes as I type my response

I'm sorry to hear poor Gruber has got this issue; it does sound as if he is very uncomfortable with it all.

By definition, an abscess is an infection so he absolutely needs to be started on antibiotics ASAP. Has he been on two courses of antibiotics for these same abscesses? If so, this is unusual as most will heal with a single course.At this stage, I would advise we take a swab of the infection for culture & sensitivity in case he has a resistant infection. It may also be worth considering exploring the abscesses under sedation/anaesthetic in case there is e.g. a foreign body such as a grass seed inside.

On top of the antibiotics, it sounds as though he will need some anti-inflammatory/pain relief medicine to keep him comfortable.

Abscesses do like to rupture (burst open) and can even do this without the animal interfering at all. This is the body's way of trying to get rid of the pus/infection. In fact, a vital part of treating an abscess is to lance and drain it. We do not close these abscesses with stitches as this would simply trap the infection inside. An exception would be if the defect was especially large. However, even if the skin needed to be closed we would still insert a plastic drain so that the infection could continue to drain.

You did the right thing by using the collar but it sounds as if it is no longer helping. It may be that you need a larger size which he is unable to get into the wound. An alternative would be a soft fabric or an inflatable collar which would not cause further injury. Depending on where the abscesses are, you may also have the option of a body suit. Your local pet store may still be open and may be able to provide these for you.

We do not like to bandage over abscesses as this traps the infection inside and can delay healing.

I would suggest you give it a very good clean with warm salty water now, removing any of the discharge and blood.

It's worth mentioning that your vet is obliged to provide a 24 hour service on week nights so if you feel he is going to be uncomfortable over night, you can request an out of hours visit. This may or may not be at your local clinic but they will certainly be able to tell you where the nearest service is.

It's worth saying that before your appointment (whether today or tomorrow) have him starved in case the vet does need to sedate him as they cannot do this is he has just eaten.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
He has a soft collar on already. Should we keep it on? He had an absess first, that was particularly bad. It had to be drained and he had the first course, but then it burst and it was very deep and it got surgically closed because it was right above his tail and the vet felt it'd take longer to heal as it would be being moved constantly. He then got another one, very close to the site which was fine so the vet didn't give antibiotics for it. He does have some pain killers but he was only supposed to have one dose a day, and he had it this morning. Can we give him another one as he is very much in a lot of distress. We're trying to keep up cleaning it but he's desperate to do it himself he's fighting us to get to it himself.

Unfortunately I am unable to make phone calls at this time. If you wish to speak to a vet over the phone, I can opt out of the question and there may be a vet available who can. Otherwise, I am happy to continue talking via chat, just let me know

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Chat is fine

Poor man, it sounds as if he's been through a lot with these infections.

As the soft collar is unlikely to cause much further damage/irritation and should stop him really getting to it, I would keep it on. Sometimes without the collar cats can cause a huge amount of self trauma and create large and very deep wounds.

To help along with the collar, try to keep him distracted. For example, hide some tasty treats around the room for him to hunt out, use any food puzzle toys that you have or play a game- the more we get his mind off the abscesses the better.

I assume the pain killer is a non-steroidal such as meloxicam/metacam/loxicom? If so, please DO NOT give another dose as this will not provide additional pain relief and can be very dangerous. If he is in pain, the vet may instead give him another stronger pain relief to give alongside the non-steroidal which will be safe.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Yeah it's loxicom so we won't give him anymore. We'll just keep cleaning it over and over. It's slowing down so maybe it's almost all out?

Yep, Loxicom is only ever given once a day.

Absolutely, the discharge should not continue for much longer after it has been thoroughly cleansed away. If there is continued discharge, it may be actively bleeding and would thus require a vet visit straight away.

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