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Update to Forum Rules: Criminal Allegations

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Speak to me of large wounds on cats with happy endings

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  • Speak to me of large wounds on cats with happy endings

    Hi, I am looking for some happy moral support here. I have a cat who is a little more than a week into the healing process of a massive and nasty wound with both stitches and staples.

    Disclaimer: we have no idea what caused this wound. Could have been anything from a bite to a tear (stuck on fence?). Cat is mostly-indoor but knows how to use the dog doors. I saw kitty going in through the dog door early Monday morning as I was leaving for work.

    Last Monday night, pretty late, I realized I hadn't seen the orange kitty since the AM - which is pretty unusual. We did an all-hands-on-deck search and daughter found him hiding under a bed. 'Emergency,' she said upon extraction and, sure enough, a large chunk of the side of the cat was ... missing. Deep striated muscle layers were visible at a glance. Edges of wounds were dry(ish) so it had happened hours ago.

    We put pants on and located an overnight emergency clinic 30 minutes away and took him over. They determined his body wall was intact (phew, the vet was unsure without additional imaging so that was good news!) and stitched the inner layers and stapled the outer layers (21 staples). Inserted a drain and left some additional skin wounds alone or added a single stitch.

    We picked up Frankenkitty the next morning with lots of meds and instructions to have our local (daytime, lol) vet recheck at 3 days to see if drain was ready to come out.

    Well, at 3 days, the drain was still goozling apace. Local vet said come back in another couple of days, so we did. Cat was running a huge fever which had come up overnight, so local vet (non-overnight capability plus it was Easter Sunday) referred back to emergency clinic. Drove back over there to check cat in for overnight where fluids and additional antibiotics were administered. Drain was still going strong, but morning vet (original surgeon) doesn't like to leave for more than 5 days due to risk of secondary infection. (I totally agree ... the cat was going nuts ripping at the drain, scooting his belly, removing several cones to gnaw at it.)

    So ... now kitty has been back home for a few days and I am continuing to give meds as directed and ignore the fact that he is still leaking. The stitches are starting to pull away in a couple of places to create really squicky skin tears. Things are starting to slough and really look a different kind of gross as the healing process continues.

    We have vet recheck scheduled for tomorrow (or today later if they have something open up.)

    If you've been with me this far, thank you.

    Now, please distract me with good tales of cats living through seemingly crazy and should-have-been-deadly wounds. I'm worried and depressed and living in a room needing to be thoroughly scrubbed to remove cat edema.

  • #2
    Hang in there. Cats can have an amazing capacity to heal. I've had barn cats that I thought were on deaths door come bouncing back. You're doing everything you can.


    • #3
      hang in there! the exact thing you described happened to my siamese years ago. it looked like someone decided to skin him from his withers all the way back to his hips - really, really gory and he was dragging the flap with him.

      no idea how he did it, but once he was healed it was like it never happened. and he lived for many years after that, about 10.

      would love to know what he did. my suspicion is maybe a hawk or raptor.

      good luck at your vet check - these things take time and look worse before they are healed. jingles!
      "i'm a slow learner, it's true."


      • #4
        I had a feral cat that would come over to my yard and kick the crap out of every cat he saw. He came every day at the same time and once he did not show up for a couple days. When he did I was horrified to see that the side of his head was so mangled and swollen he looked like a monster. I could never get near this poor cat ever and he would absolutely not be trapped, so I to watch as this wound got bigger and uglier til one day it burst and Jesus help us, half his face went away. He had exposed tendons in his neck and jaw exposed, and part of his skull appeared to be exposed as well - it was horrifying to see. He kept coming to eat and it would get better then blow open again over and over til one day it closed for good and he was able to continue on his regular way, kicking ass and taking names. Some neighbor children murdered him several months later, poor boy. RIP Mr Brown.

        OP, I would keep up with aggressive treatment with your cat. Has he had an x-ray done? I did not see that mentioned. He may need surgery to see what is going on in there. I don't know what else to suggest - sorry. I hope he gets better, poor boy. Give him a kitty treat for me and tell him we're jingling for him.
        "Cats aren't clean; they're covered with cat spit."
        - John S Nichols (1745-1846,writer/printer)

        Don't come for me - I didn't send for you.


        • #5
          Our most feral barn cat had a horrible wound. They stitched with a cone. That was fun & lasted about 2.5 seconds. We kept him in a kitty condo so we could treat him. He ripped stitches out. So we did laser therapy on him. Worked really really well. Had to keep him confined for 5 weeks, he was pretty tame after that.


          • #6
            We have a former barn cat who tangled with someone badder than he was, ended up getting surgery thanks to a generous boarder, and when it came time to pick him up from the vet nobody else was around and the clinic was closing for the weekend. .. I brought him home "for a little while," because it was January and he didn't get along with the tack room cats. Five years later, he looks like that high school football player who got fat and middle aged! His wound was near his tail, which never healed quite right and his butt looks funny, too. He will not ever, under any circumstances, go outside, though he does like the screened porch. I think he was at our house about a week before we gave in and decided he was staying.

            Cats heal. They run up big vet bills along the way, but they do heal.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks, guys, as gory as the stories are ... they make me feel LOADS better.

              halt - Yes! THIS! (Only without the dragging flap.) Did your kitty have any abscessing that required additional surgery?

              shiloh - !!! Wow!!! As to my kitty, yes, he has already had x-rays and his first surgery. He has stitches holding the internal stuff down and then staples plus additional stitches on the top layer.

              betsyk - sigh. Yes - we're in over $2k already. I tell the stinker that -- that he's a parking lot rescue with an attitude and we didn't have to spend the kid's college book fund on him. Somehow he doesn't care. Just blinks, rubs, cuddles and then bites, lol.

              We have been warned that he will most likely need at least one more surgery. That's OK, just don't go septic!

              Right now he's pretty perky ... I took the cone off last night and put some non-stick gauze pads on the worst of the leaky areas and then put on a Suitical surgery recovery suit. (Hopefully the link works.) I got the largest size thinking he is (was) a pretty pudgy cat and I was thinking to avoid compression.

              Well ... the little sh** crawled his shoulders up through the neck hole by the wee smalls and was licking alarmingly near the incision site. (Fortunately, the neck hole got stuck right in front of the 'danger zone' but I was able to extract the remainder of the cat through the neck hole quickly, as he was threatening to take my arm off.) So ... back into the cone of shame.

              We have a follow up vet appointment today at 3pm -- all jingles appreciated!

              Thanks, guys!
              Buy Suitical Recovery Suit for Cats, XX-Small, Black Camo at Chewy.com. FREE shipping and the BEST customer service!


              • #8
                Yup, hang in there! I had one kitty who had to have an eye removed and LOVED to pop those stitches right out! Nothing like opening the bathroom door to see a 6-week old kitten staring at you with one good eye and one - blech. But she healed.

                I also had a feral barn cat that I think had a side-swipe by a swather - he had a huge bloody scab on one side of his face/neck one morning that came off a few days later to reveal a single huge, curved cut that went from the top of his skull, behind his ear, and halfway down the neck. I could not catch him. It was a God-awful mess. So I put antibiotics in his canned food and within a month, it was nearly healed. Now, there's no scar at all. I think he's about 14, and is still visiting. And still feral as can be . . .



                • #9
                  One of my former cats had some kind of insect burrow into his head and lay a huge larva under his skin. I think the vet called it a wolf larva but it's been years so I don't really remember. He had to get 28 staples in his head and stay at the vet for a few days.
                  "Dogs are man's best friend. Cats are man's adorable little serial killer." -- theoatmeal.com


                  • #10
                    One of my current barn cats is finally healing from a huge abscess on his neck. It was there most of the winter. I finally brought him in and stuck him in a bathroom so I could clean and treat it with Vetricin.

                    That lasted a few weeks until he got back out. By then the infection had cleared, but he had an open wound probably 1.5" x 1". I have been keeping an eye on it and it's now healing nicely.

                    BTW, this cat is friendly, but NOT housecat material.


                    • #11
                      Hang in there. Bagheera turned up with a WUO (wound of unknown origin) a few months ago that wasn't as deep as yours sounds but looked awful. Debridement and antibiotics, and it healed up slowly but surely, though he didn't much like the daily wound spray.

                      I remember a James Herriott story about a dog - collie? Irish setter? Something large - who came to the clinic when he was doing coverage at another vet's clinic while that vet was on vacation a few weeks. The dog had some horrific foot wound, basically dangling by skin. Caught in a trap? Something like that. It's been years since I read it. The wound was so bad that Herriott thought the dog was a goner at once, but family insisted on wanting to try. He was thinking, "I would get a case like this when I'm working in someone else's clinic with someone else's patients who don't know me." He reassembled the foot, stitched it back in place, and bandaged thoroughly, nearly a cast. They brought the dog back a few days later claiming that it smelled awful, and you could smell the necrosis all through the waiting room. He unwrapped the dog and found that while there were necrotic bits and it was draining majorly, it also had some non-necrotic bits. He debrided, medicated, rewrapped. They returned in a day or two with smelly, draining foot. He debrided, medicated, rewrapped. Wet, lather, repeat. Each time, it seemed just a little bit less dead and more a percentage of growth. By the time he was ready to leave, he was able to say conclusively that the foot was out of danger. He ended with a memory of the dog, I think from a time he was that way months later, jumping around and playing toss and fetch vigorously with a toy, and he said you never would have known. But it looked and smelled absolutely awful for a good bit of the treatment course.
                      Last edited by dressagetraks; Apr. 7, 2018, 09:30 PM.
                      Now Available: C-Sharp Minor: My Mother's Seventeen-Year Journey through Dementia. 5% of my proceeds will be donated to the Alzheimer's Association.


                      • #12
                        Poor kitty. Yes, as other have said, hang in there! I don't have a BIG injury to tell you about, but I do have a little one! We found a kitten, approximately 5 weeks old, a few years back. He still had blue eyes. Anyway, he was a tiny, greasy furball with fleas, and a hole in his back leg. I took him to the vet immediately. They treated him for the pests and then looked at the hole. It already had maggots inside the poor little guy. They were eating on him. They pulled over a bunch of them, cleaned him up, bandaged him and we took him home. The vet said he will probably be gimpy as the maggots were eating his leg muscle. Well, he healed up and thrived. He's now four years old and a wonderful cat! Here he is as a little bugger...

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                        “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                        ¯ Oscar Wilde


                        • #13
                          My cat Fatty was brutally attacked by something many years ago. She almost didn't make it. She bounced back and had zero problems with the bite after she healed. She went on to lose an eye due to an injury and got cancer on her ear and had to have the entire ear removed. We thought she might die from cancer, but she lived to the ripe old age of 18 and we euthanized her after she suffered a stoke. Cats can be resilient creatures!


                          • Original Poster

                            Thank you all for the wonderful and awful stories! Cats are amazing critters, aren't they!

                            alabama - when I was growing up, spending summers in NW Alabama -- we used to have the exact same thing happen to the barn kittens. Granny did indeed call them "woofs" (took me years to figure out she was saying "wolf", lol.) She would cover the hole with vaseline and the larva would stick it's head out to try to breathe ... right onto Granny's tweezers. Totally gross but really fascinating in a squicky sort of way ...

                            Quick update on orange kitty: he has been back to the local vet for checkups every 5 days or so and the top portion of staples had pulled out so they were removed to leave about a 1x1.5 inch open wound which need(s) to heal by secondary intention. (Sounds impressive, eh?)

                            The lower staples were removed subsequently to leave an impressive scar. So, every 36 hours hubby and I change the dressings and reapply his little onesie. This cat will be a total lap cat when we're done. He used to want to always be with you, "helping" brush teeth by curling up in the sink, "helping" do hair by pushing all the items off the counter. Now, he wants to lean on you or get on your lap to be scritched under the onesie turtleneck collar.

                            We have a checkup this afternoon and the wound should be very little open anymore! Yaaaay!


                            • #15
                              I'm amazed he is leaving it alone with out a cone. My Rosemary had to have a cone until all the staples were out, maybe 2 weeks.
                              "Punch him in the wiener. Then leave." AffirmedHope


                              • Original Poster

                                CindyCRNA - he is wearing a surgical recovery suit -- he can't physically get to the wound because he is fully covered by the fabric. We had to wait to switch to that from the cone until he got less "juicy" but he is sooooo much happier out of the cone. Just hangs out in his little outfit.


                                • #17
                                  Cats heal.
                                  Taz was attacked by a pit bull and had a gaping wound in his abdomen, which had to be left open and have dead tissue debrided every few days. It was easily a golf ball sized hole and you could see his leg muscles.

                                  Vetrycin made a real difference. It took a long time, but he barely has a scar.
                                  ~Former Pet Store Manager (10yrs)
                                  ~Vintage Toy Dealer (rememberswhen.us)
                                  ~Vet Tech Student
                                  Mom to : 2 Horses,3 Dogs, 1 Cat