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Common Injury in Cats – Bite Wounds

01/26/2016 by Colleen Williams
January 26th, 2016 by Colleen Williams
        

If your cat lives permanently or semi-permanently outside, they might get in the occasional scuffle with neighborhood felines. These cat fights can result in some nasty injuries, including bite wounds. Cat mouths are not clean places and neither is the outdoors. This combination can result in painful infections.

Causes

Bite wounds are caused by – you guessed it – bites from other animals. While it’s most often another cat that bites your pet, the occasional raccoon, rat, or possum bite isn’t unheard of.

Symptoms

With all that fur, it can sometimes be difficult to see the exact site of the bite. Signs that your cat may have a painful bite wound include pus and blood discharge, matted fur, swelling, and fever. If the bite is on a limb, your cat may limp from pain. When you do notice a bite wound, it’s important to make an appointment with your vet; feral or outdoors cats can carry all sorts of communicable diseases. If left untreated, the wound may form an abscess, a hard lump of bacterial infection.

Treatment

Minor bites can be treated at home.

  1. Gently hold the cat in your lap. Injured cats can sometimes hiss or lash out, even at their owners.
  2. Clip the hair around the wound until you can clearly see the site.
  3. Use a small amount of hydrogen peroxide – not any kind of alcohol – to clean the wound.
  4. If the wound is still bleeding, apply gentle pressure with clean gauze or tissues to staunch it.
  5. Wounds that persist in bleeding even after compression should be seen by a vet. If the skin at the bite site flaps open or appears disconnected from the tissue beneath, the wound may require stiches.

Cats that are not up to date on their shots, including rabies, should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible to be tested. If the bite has become infected, antibiotics will be prescribed to clear it up. More serious bite wounds may need stitches.

Prevention

Keeping your cat inside is the best and only method to prevent bite wounds. Outdoor cats are vulnerable to contracting and passing on many diseases that indoor cats never even come into contact with. If you have other animals, these highly contagious illnesses can spread quickly throughout a household, even to dogs.

It’s highly recommended that you keep your domesticated kitty inside – feral cats are unhealthy and are at risk for picking up all sorts of infections and injuries. However, if your cat does get out for a short period of time, inspect their body for any injuries or abnormalities when they return.






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