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Cat abscess- Vet or wait and see?

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  • Cat abscess- Vet or wait and see?

    I discovered today that my cat has an abscess on her side that opened up sometime in the last day or two. The abscess seems to have drained well, and the area isn't painful or hot. It's rather unexplained- she's not been in contact with other animals for over a month.

    She had one up on her shoulder blade about 5 weeks back, but I was fostering kittens then, so I figured she had gotten a little nick while playing. That one burst on its own, I clipped it clean and kept an eye on it. It healed just fine, and she never showed any signs of feeling unwell.

    Now this new abscess in a different location, which makes me wonder if she has something going on. Yet she's doing windsprints like an Olympic champion, playing like a loon with her beloved mousie, scarfs her food down instantly, and her coat is bright and shiny. She certainly isn't acting like anything is amiss.

    She definitely has some issues- she's allergic to a large number of things, and was almost starved to death when I found her two years ago. Maybe her immune system is a little compromised, and now her body is over-reacting? She is a clabber-ass, and runs into things regularly when she's playing and sprinting. I guess it's possible she could have nicked herself through her thick fur, but it just seems strange to have a second abscess like this. I'd rather not spend a chunk of change at the vet, but maybe she needs to be on a course of antibiotics just to be safe? Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Are they cysts? Or are they puss filled lumps?
    My poodle had a specific type of cyst (can't remember the name). Initially we (vet and I) thought it was just a fat lump. It was very small (half a centimeter wide maybe a bit less tall than that). One day I my dog seemed really agitated by something. I looked at thought he had a puncture wound. Took him to the vet and it was the cyst, it had ruptured. After it was cleaned out it didn't bother him at all and he was fine. He hasn't had one since but the vet told me that he could get more.

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    • #3
      I would have a vet check it out. Better safe than sorry in case there is an undetected problem that would easily treated now.

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      • #4
        I'd wait. If she gets another then you have a pattern... but eating, drinking, playing and pooping... doesn't sound like a sick cat.

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        • #5
          Check it out. My abcess turned out to be cancer, at the spot where she got her combined rabies and something else shot. First vet declared it an abcess, wasn't diagnosed correctly till month later.
          Sorry to be a downer, this was many years ago and they now no longer give those shots. It was something in the binding agent of the combined shot. I'm sure your kitty is fine, but its a relief to check it out.

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          • #6
            Abscesses in cats can be a very big deal. I would schedule an appointment for as soon as you can.

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            • #7
              Yes, antibiotics are important. You dont want to be dealing with latent infections. Certainly an emergency visit isnt justified, but the "wait and see" can mean future abscesses and even sepsis down the road. Best to get the festering bug before it pops up in another location.

              Your vet may look at it and say its not an abscess,but something else (like a ruptured cyst, bite with no abscess etc), but if there ever was infection there you could be playing with fire. I know a cat who lost his leg due to an abscess that was thought to have clearedup. Several months later the joint became infected, antibiotics didnt touch the infection and the joint was so eaten away and the cat was SO lame, they had to amputate.

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              • #8
                Another vote for vet check. The one time I had a cat with an abscess at the base of her tail (that I admit I didn't notice at first), poor cat nearly died. Stopped eating/drinking, had an extremely high fever, yadayadayada. It was a long slow convalescence involving force-feeding chicken broth & strained human baby food for WEEKS.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Luckily, not an abscess but it is yet another allergic reaction.

                  The first wound on her shoulder blade was an abscess, but this is miliary dermatitis of some sort, vet thinks most likely from a flea bite. It could be from any number of things though, and considering this cat's picture is in the dictionary under the definition of "Allergic", who knows. No sign of fleas on her, and she was treated less than a month ago, but of course it just takes one.

                  Poor kitty freaks out so badly about going to the vet. She spikes a fever every time we go, and sits there in a lathered panic, shaking like a leaf with her heart pounding.

                  The bill was under $100, so that's a minor miracle at least. He gave me some Derma-vet ointment to put on it for a few days, and if she develops any more sores or this one doesn't clear up than we'll try steroid shots.

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                  • #10
                    Well I guess thats good news? Maybe not...? Hopefully it wont come back, if so the nice thing is that cats tend to do better with steroids than dogs. And they are dirt cheap

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                    • #11
                      ETA: I just saw you found what's wrong. Glad it's not too serious or expensive! Your cat sounds like mine with the allergies, good luck with keeping her itch-free.


                      I'd say you could get away with caring for it yourself, if the cat is active, eating, and not feverish, and if the abcess is draining well and you can keep it clean. I've done this fairly often--my cat has skin allergies and sometimes bites herself hard enough to abcess. If I notice a bite that's gotten icky, I generally rinse with sterile water (filtered, boiled and cooled, syringed into wound) and coat with a gentle antiseptic liquid and some antibacterial ointment. To keep her from bothering it, this is going to sound odd but I've had good luck making little cat t-shirts from the sleeve of a long-sleeve tee or polo, to cover the affected area. My cat seems comfy with this, much more so than with a cone collar, but YMMV.

                      Having said that, if the cat starts getting lethargic or loses appetite, or if the abcess spot produces more pus and gunk, or doesn't seem to be healing well, get to a vet.

                      From your description, I'd be more concerned about what's causing the abcess. If it's an internal thing popping out, or a cyst or something, it might be a sign of a more serious systemic problem. If it's on her side, is it possible she chewed on herself and punctured the skin? That's how my cat gets hers, but you say her last one was on the shoulder blade so it wasn't self-inflicted.
                      Last edited by regalace; Oct. 5, 2012, 02:00 PM. Reason: follow-up to post
                      The hooves of the horses! Oh witching and sweet is the music earth steals from the iron-shod feet. Will Ogilvie

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                      • #12
                        Did she just have a spontaneous full thickness hole in her skin? I had a cat that had thin, friable skin and and it would just tear. We went through a lot with her, finally did a skin biopsy and the result was allergies. Although her skin did not LOOK red or irritated or anything, there was a ton on inflammation at the cellular level that was causing the skin to essentially fall apart.

                        A food change to a novel protein fixed her. Venison worked very well.

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Her skin looks healthy and clean if you ruffle her fur back. She is allergic to chicken, egg, fish, seafood, carpet and laundry detergent (that I know of!). Who knows what else may be a trigger. She eats canned beef, and gets freeze-dried beef liver as a treat, along with tidbits of hamburger or steak from my plate. I also get her rib bones to gnaw on in an attempt to keep her teeth halfway clean.

                          She still has some residual allergy issues now and then, because occasionally her eyes are watery, she'll be a little itchy and her ears get a little greasy/yeasty. I'm sure she's also allergic to some pollen/mold/environmental allergen that I haven't been able to pinpoint.

                          Her usual allergic reaction is to scratch her neck and chin raw, so this is a new location to be back on her left side. It's an irregular scab about the size of a dime, with a few smaller pinprick scabs around it. It's fairly shallow. Something different every time with this one! Good thing I like her.

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                          • #14
                            Wow Cammie, that's some list!

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