Treating a Cat's Head Abscess with Antibiotics

Perceiving a swelling or injury on a cat head can be a worrying experience. More often than not, this injury could be the start of an abscess. The build up of pus in a closed wound leads to an abscess. An abscess typically forms around a bite or claw gash, when the bacteria-rich saliva of a cat stays inside a sealed wound. Cats have the ability to heal their skin quickly which means that a wound gets closed rapidly with the bacteria causing infection still inside.

Symptoms of Infection

You may not observe the injury till it has already reached the stage of an abscess. Cats often appear well and hide their pain till they start displaying symptoms of infection:

* Sluggishness/weariness * Loss of appetite * Fever * Swelling and or redness at site of injury * Fur missing around injury * Disinclination to being picked up * Mewling painfully

An abscess is a painful condition for your cat and requires immediate attention. Your cat will find it more difficult to heal itself of an abscess on the head as against other lateral parts, since the bacteria in the wound are being pulled down into the animal by gravitational forces.

If the early stages of the abscess development are neglected, it will continue to swell, with pus and dead tissue building up. After a point, the abscess will burst with usually a yellowish brown offensive discharge.

Treating a Cat Head Abscess

Stopping further infection would be the objective of the treatment you choose for your wounded cat. Till you are able to get your cat to a veterinarian you can perform certain procedures yourself.

* If the abscess has not burst, apply hot towels to the affected area. This will increase the blood supply to the injury and can help rupture the abscess. * If you can feel a soft spot on the head of the abscess, use a sanitized blade and make a light cut. The pus should flow out. * Once the abscess is open, clean it with cotton wool. Look for mud, hair or any other foreign material and remove it carefully. Use a dropper and rinse out the wound using a few drops of hydrogen peroxide or an iodine/alcohol based topical disinfectant solution. You can also use a chemical antiseptic containing chlorhexidine which has residual effects for up to 6 hours. Repeat this twice a day. * If the abscess is large and does not seem to be easy to burst, clean the area and apply hot compresses to boost the blood supply.

The next step would be to get your cat treated with antibiotics. This is crucial and will ensure that the infection is contained and there is minimum complication in the healing process.

Since bacteria are teeming below your cat's skin in case of a bite or claw gash, antibiotics are vital. Usually a penicillin based antibiotic injection will be administered initially to control the fever and inflammation.

Depending on the severity of the infection, oral antibiotics may also be prescribed. Sometimes you may find that your cat does not respond favourably to the antibiotic, in which case an analysis of the wound will be required to ascertain the particular bacteria infecting it. Accordingly an antibiotic course will be prescribed.

Reducing the Incidence of an Abscess

* Cats are particularly prone to abscesses due to the numerous fights they engage in. Being territorial animals, cats can get aggressive and violent. Usually these fights occur at night, so keeping your cat indoors at night can substantially reduce its chances of getting wounded. * Abscesses are also known to be more common during spring and fall as these are the breeding seasons for cats. Even neutered and spayed cats are active during that time and therefore more susceptible to getting into fights. Keeping your cat protected during this time can help it stay away from potential fights.

Giving your cat a head to tail rub once a day will give you an opportunity to spot a wound or abrasion promptly. Timely and appropriate treatment after your cat sustains an injury can avert the formation of an abscess effectively.