Cats are naturally playful and curious creatures. Unfortunately, this means that they could potentially return from their adventures with an injury. Today our Suffolk County vets talk about some common cat wounds and how to care for them.
Common Cat Wounds
Accidents happen to everyone and your cat is no exception. As cats are adventurous creatures minor injuries can be quite common for your feline friend.
While sustaining a minor wound is nothing to panic over it still requires care as soon as possible. If a wound is not treated quickly it could become infected and cause severe health issues.
Some of the most common wounds your cat might experience are:
- Hot spots
- Insect bites
- Skin rashes
- Cat burns
- Scratches, cuts or scrapes
- Cat abscesses
What to Watch For
It is important to occasionally examine your cat for signs of a wound such as:
- Missing fur
- Cut, scraped or torn skin
- Tenderness or pain
Signs that a wound may be infected are:
- Discharge (pus) from the wound
- Signs of a fever
What to do if your cat has a wound
Some things you should do immediately after noticing a fresh wound on your cat are:
- Examine your cat for signs of infection – wounds can become infected regardless of how long ago your cat sustained the injury. Some possible signs of infection are:
- Pus discharge
- Fever or lethargy
- Noticeable pain or discomfort
- Change in behavior
- Determine the severity of the wound – You should be able to easily determine whether the wound requires immediate veterinary attention or can be safely cared for at home. If there are obvious signs that the wound is severe then it is best to contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Slow the blood flow – If the wound is bleeding you will need to slow the blood flow. To do this you will apply pressure directly to the wound using a clean cloth or sterile gauze for approximately 5 - 10 minutes until a clot forms. If you cannot get the bleeding to stop you should contact your vet right away.
- Flush the wound – If the wound is minor you should gently clean the wound using a clean wet cloth and iodine or a saline solution. It is best to remove as much hair and debris from the wounded area as possible without rubbing.
- Apply an antimicrobial hydrogel – Once the wound is clean it is recommended to apply an antimicrobial treatment product such as Vetericyn Plus® Feline Antimicrobial Hydrogel, in order to speed up healing and prevent infection.
- Monitor the wound – Once you have cleaned and provided protection for the wound you should continue to monitor your cat and the wound daily for any signs of irritation or infection. You may need to help prevent your cat from chewing or licking the wounded area as well and keep the bandages clean and dry.
If your cat sustains a wound that requires veterinary attention your vet will thoroughly examine your pet to ensure there are no other wounds or issues that need to be addressed. They may need to remove fur or x-ray the area in order to provide an accurate diagnosis.
The treatment method your vet recommends will depend on the severity, type and location of the wound and whether there are any signs of infection.
While smaller cuts will typically only receive a cleaning and possibly be glued closed, some deeper wounds may require the removal of foreign objects or debris, thorough cleaning with an antiseptic solution as well as sutures to hold the wound closed during healing.
If a wound is found to be older or shows signs of infection your vet may choose to leave the wound open initially while focusing treatment on the infection. Once the wound is no longer infected your vet will then use sutures to close it while it heals.
If necessary your vet will prescribe medication to prevent infection which is important for you to continue at home until the prescription is complete.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.