Even the most peaceful cat can have a confrontation with another cat, dog, or other domestic or wild animal. Cats raised together may have disagreements about food, toys, or a favorite place and use fangs and claws to work out differences. When this happens, bite wounds can result.
It’s important to know that while larger wounds need care, even the smallest wounds can create major health problems if not properly cared for. If your cat has suffered a bite wound, you may want to see a vet.
Here is how to cure your cat of a minor bite , as well as when you need to go to the vet
What happens when a cat has been bitten?
When a cat bites, its teeth pierce through the skin, leaving small puncture wounds that heal in a matter of hours, leaving bacteria from the aggressor’s mouth under the wounded cat’s skin.
Bacteria multiply under the skin. Antibiotics given within 24 hours by the vet prevent the spread of infection and the development of an abscess with swelling and pain at the puncture site. In areas where the skin is not loose, such as a foot or tail, the infection spreads through the tissues and causes cellulitis .
In rare cases there may be more serious consequences, such as septic arthritis (infection of a joint space), osteomyelitis (infection of the bone) or pyothorax (the chest cavity fills with pus).
How do I know if my cat has a bite wound?
If your cat has been in a fight, carefully examine its fur for hidden bite wounds. You will often find punctures around the neck area, rump, and on the legs. Look closely at the hair to find blood stains, which would indicate that the skin has been pierced.
Although there may be only a few punctures, extensive damage may have been caused to the underlying muscles. If the wounds are deep enough to require stitches, this should be done by a vet as soon as possible.
Puncture wounds heal very quickly, so they are often very difficult to see. The most frequent bite sites are the head, the forelimbs or the base of the tail. You may notice warmth and swelling in the area of the bite. Some cats may be lethargic and have a fever.
How to cure my cat from a minor bite at home
If the wound is minor, you can tend to it at home before heading to the vet. Use caution and the following tips to take care of your cat’s animal bite.
Step 1: Approach the cat carefully and try to hold it if it is excited or nervous.
Step 2: Cut the hair around the wound to check the condition of the injury.
Step 3: Rinse the bite wound well by pouring 3 percent hydrogen peroxide over it. Don’t use another antiseptic.
Step 4: do not bandage the wound. Let the wound drain unless there is excessive bleeding.
If the wound bleeds excessively:
- Cover the wound with a clean cloth, sterile bandage, or sanitary napkin.
- Put your hand on the bandage and press firmly.
- Press on the dressing to stop the bleeding. If blood soaks through the dressing, don’t remove it. Put on more bandage and keep applying pressure until the bleeding stops.
Step 5: If the wound is deep enough to require stitches, get him to the vet quickly.
Step 6: If your cat is not vaccinated against rabies, tell the vet.
What should I do if my cat has an abscess or an infected bite?
You should take your cat to the vet. If an abscess has formed, your vet will drain it. This can sometimes be done by removing the scabs over the original bite wounds or if they have healed by placing the skin over the abscess. To carry out this intervention it will be necessary to sedate or anesthetize your cat. If there is cellulite, drainage is not possible.
The antibiotics will be given by injection or tablets. If your vet prescribes antibiotics for your cat to take, it is very important that you give them all as directed.
How to care for the wound after it has been treated by the vet?
After the vet has drained the abscess, a fairly large wound may remain. This is left open to allow drainage. It is advisable to bathe the wound twice a day to keep it open for two to three days. This can be done with cotton wool and warm salt water (1 teaspoon of salt in the previously boiled water).
Use only disinfectants recommended by your vet. Never use those that contain phenols (eg TCP) because they are toxic to cats.
If cellulite is present, it is beneficial to soak the affected area in warm salt water twice a day and then dry it well.
How long does it take for the bite wound to heal?
With proper treatment, abscesses should heal in 5 days , cellulite may take a few days longer. If you see that the wound is not healing properly, you should go to the vet to have it re-examined.
If no treatment is given, there is a danger that the abscess will break open and then only partially drain before healing and then reappearing. The same consequences can appear if antibiotics are not administered completely, or adequate drainage is not maintained.
If an infected wound does not heal within a few days, the vet can examine for another underlying cause. Certain viruses such as feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus suppress the immune system and can complicate the cat’s recovery from infection.
Persistent drainage may indicate that a foreign body, such as a tooth or claw or dirt, remains in the wound and this may require surgical exploration. It may also indicate the presence of an unusual infectious agent, in which case biopsies may need to be sent for culture and other tests.
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