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Wound on cat.

Species: Cat
Breed: DSH
Age: 2-5 years
My father's cat Jerry is 3 year old neutered male DSH who is up-to-date on all vaccinations and is given heartworm and flea/tick prevention meds regularly. We found him starving, and took him. He has grown from 6 pounds to 14. He is a happy cat, playful and kind. Since we found him roaming the outdoors, it was impossible to make him stay inside (he would destroy anything he could to get out). He loves wondering outside and eating small mammals, including squirrels. Unfortunately, his wandering gets him hurt/sick often. I feel his circumstances before we took him in have impaired his immune system. He suffered an injury to his back, a few inches up from the base of his tail. My dad concluded that it must have been a bite from something venomous because of the presence of dead tissue and the perfectly circular hole it left. This apparently cleared up, but I believe an opportunistic infection has set in. It seems to fill with puss, ooze, and then start over, moving through the healthy tissue. My father is on a fixed income, and believes if he takes Jerry to the vet, he will be succum to a battery of tests. What could be happening here? Is there some sort of parasite or specific bacteria that does this? What can be done to take care of him? Thank you for your time.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh dear. It really does sound like Jerry needs to see a vet as quickly as possible.

The most common reason for a wound in this area is a bite or scratch from another cat. These can get severely infected. If you are seeing pus then there is nothing that is going to fix this other than antibiotics prescribed by the vet and the only way he will get these is by seeing a vet.

If Jerry has had repeated infections that are difficult to heal then my main concern would be for a virus such as FIV of Feline Leukemia Virus. But, this doesn't necessarily have to be the case. Cats that go outdoors are susceptible to a lot of things even without having a virus. It may be that he is perfectly healthy other than having a non healing infection.

If I was seeing Jerry in my office I would recommend testing for Feline Leukemia and FIV but it wouldn't be mandatory. The vet cannot force you to do extra testing and this really shouldn't be a reason to not take him in.

If this infection continues to go untreated then it can be life threatening. If it goes too long then he may need surgery in order to heal. But if treated quick enough, some antibiotics may just do the trick.

I hope he does ok!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

That's what I thought. Jerry was tested for FIV and feline leukemia before I let him around my other cat. I will make Jerry an appointment and take him to the vet myself. I appreciate your advice. Thank you.


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.