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Bite Wounds

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Tags: Bite Wounds, Health Problems, Health

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Feline bite wounds are usually associated with feral cats which fight to protect their territory from other strange cats. The teeth will penetrate the skins causing a lesion or wound that will heal over. The problem occurs because bacteria grow under the surface of the skin either from debris that got into it when it was an open wound or from the attacking cat's saliva.


  • The particular type of bacteria found in a cat's mouth is Pasteurella multocida and Streptococcus; both of which require very little oxygen. Once the wound closes the oxygen from the environment is cut off and the bacteria begin to grow and multiply.

  • The process of infection begins with the wound that becomes inflamed, swells, and is painful. If the wound bite is on the leg there will be swelling, abscess and possibly lameness. Other common bite wounds sites are found on the face, the back, the rump, and the tail.

  • Three stages of bite wound trauma

  • Pre abscess - where the bite is painful, swollen and inflamed

  • Abcessation - are nodules of pus which is the second degree of bite wound infection. They usually form when there is loose skin present around the wound site and this skin can fill with pockets of pus. Abcessation forms between three and five days after the bite.

  • Post abscess - If the abcessation is not surgically trained they will rupture and seep out onto the skin. This seepage continues for about a week.

  • Some cats will have continuous seepage (Chronic) because of bacteria, fungal infections, fragments of bone and foreign bodies that has not left the body.

  • Cellulitis - Usually occurs when there is no loose skin surrounding the bite. The infection is then left to roam around spreading through the tissues. Instead of having abcessation presence there will be swelling and that is by far less noticeable for a cat owner to detect. This infection is called cellulitis.

  • Certain diseases can also result from the bite wound infection.

  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) also known as cat aids, is a condition whereby the white blood cells of the body are treated by the cat's immune system as if they were foreign bodies, attacked and killed.

  • Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is a virus that is transmitted from cat to cat by sharing food dishes, grooming and biting each other. This disease is also a cancer of the white blood cells.

  • Symptoms

  • Lack of appetite

  • Fever

  • Swelling

  • Pain

  • Lethargy

  • Lameness

  • Abscess

  • Pus training from skin

  • Putrid smell emanating from the abscess

  • Diagnosis

  • The veterinarian will first take the history of the cat, especially important if the cat is an outdoor cat, or is a cat that likes to fight within a multi cat household

  • Examination of the infected site

  • If the infection has advanced

  • Culture of the abscess

  • CBC blood tests

  • Viral Tests for the presence of Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

  • Treatment

  • Antibiotics

  • Surgical drainage

  • Prognosis

    Generally infections clear up rather quickly as long as you act quickly to get your cat to the veterinarian should you see the symptoms noted above. Also be careful not to touch the pus that is seeping from the wound with your bare hands. Cats can transmit bacterial disease to humans if they have an open lesion.

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