Shiva is a beautiful glossy little black cat who has a habit of getting into trouble with other cats. When we last saw her she had a huge lump just above her tail, she was also a little lethargic and off her food. On examination, she had a temperature and the lump full of pus.
Shiva had an abscess above her tail. The most common cause of an abscess is a bite from another cat. All animals have bacteria in their mouths and when a cat bites another cat this bacteria is injected under the skin, the initial bite wound heals over but the bacteria readily multiply, this is what produces pus. Bacteria can multiply very rapidly and abscesses can become very large in a short period of time.
Abscesses are painful and and cause cause a lot of damage to the surrounding tissues, the infection reduces the blood supply to surrounding tissues and causing it become necrotic, (or dies). Large infected, painful wounds can form if left untreated.
Cats fight because they are territorial by nature, so when we have a lot of cats in fairly close contact (as we do living in an inner city suburb) they will fight to maintain or become dominant within their neighbourhood. This behaviour is especially noticeable toward the end of winter when mating season starts up.
To prevent a cat bite abcess we need to stop our cats from fighting. Keeping them indoors as much as possible and especially at night will help. If fight wounds are seen, immediate veterinary attention and a short course of antibiotics can often prevent an abscess from forming.
Feline Aids (FIV) is a viral infection spread by the bite of an infected cat, this disease is prevelent in our surrounding suburbs, it causes a deficiency in the cats immune system and is untreatable. We now have a vaccine available for FIV, if your cat has ever been in a fight please contact the Clinic for further information about FIV and the vaccine.