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Treating cat fight injury

 
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My cat just got into a scuffle with another cat that roams our yard sometimes. She is mostly fine, but has a scratch near her eye that has a chunk of skin hanging loose. I cleaned it with soap and water and put some plantain salve on it already. There was almost no bleeding and what little there was stopped. Though I prefer herbs, I will probably go get some antiobiotic ointment and apply that. She will obviously not be going outside.
I'm kinda freaked out, especially since it is near her eye. Our vet isn't open til Monday to consult with about whether further action is needed. It might just be the adrenaline talking, since I've treated way worse wounds, but I'm feeling doubtful of whether this is something where home care is appropriate. Any thoughts or suggestions welcome and appreciated.
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Bacitracin, applied a couple times a day, because she will probably mess with it.  If it has a problem with hair getting in it, trim the hair around the wound.  (that might be impossible, it's near her eye and cats have definite bounds on what they want to allow).  My son got a major burn last year on his legs (hint, don't poor gas on a fire, some us never learn.  I think he figured it out after this).  Anyway, the burn specialists told him that bacitracin was the only thing other than sterile gauze and/or cotton they wanted touching the wounds.  That tells me bacitracin is the bomb!

Cat's are pretty tough.  We used to have a tomcat that was a lover, but not much of a fighter.  He'ld go out at night, looking for love, and drag his ripped up body home by morning.  He would lay around the house half dead for a few days, healing up and as soon as he felt a bit better, he would head out again.  Did it for a long time without getting infections.  Kind of reminds me of some skirt chasing guys I've known.  Different kind of pleasure, fire and pain, but again, some of us never learn!
 
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Think of it this way, would you take that to a Dr? from here it's a tiny wound and I wouldn't do anything with it, have a look at her eye and make sure there's no scratch and otherwise ignore it. If you really feel you have to do something put a cone on her so she can't rub it. I would not put any ointment on it unless you put a cone on, she will wash it off and eat it.
 
Heather Sharpe
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Skandi Rogers wrote:Think of it this way, would you take that to a Dr? from here it's a tiny wound and I wouldn't do anything with it, have a look at her eye and make sure there's no scratch and otherwise ignore it. If you really feel you have to do something put a cone on her so she can't rub it. I would not put any ointment on it unless you put a cone on, she will wash it off and eat it.


Thanks, Skandi. It looks deep to me, but you are probably right. The proximity to the eye just made it so freaky. This was likely just one thing too many on an already rough day and pushed my nervous system over an edge.
Good point about the ointment and cone. First thing she did after I let her go was wipe the plantain off.
 
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Looks raw and uncomfortable, but since it didn't reach the eye, I don't think there's cause to worry. You've washed it with soap and water, and the antibiotic ointment should help as well.
Do you have Usnea tincture, by any chance? My geriatric, half senile cat got into a scrap with a raccoon and we dabbed the wounds with Usnea barbata tincture (made with vodka), and they healed cleanly with no infection, including one close to his eye. We just used a cotton swab to apply it sparingly. He hated it, but it was effective.
 
Heather Sharpe
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Bacitracin, applied a couple times a day, because she will probably mess with it.  If it has a problem with hair getting in it, trim the hair around the wound.

Cat's are pretty tough.


Thank you, Mick. I'll watch it and probably go with the bacitracin and cone of shame, so she doesn't lick it off. They are tough critters, for sure. This particular cat survived a coyote bite which was waaaay gnarlier than this. Abscess, maggots, the whole deal. So I'm sure she'll be fine. This injury just really got to me. Maybe cause I saw what happened with the coyote bite and how cats' speedy healing abilities can sometimes work against them.

Looks raw and uncomfortable, but since it didn't reach the eye, I don't think there's cause to worry. You've washed it with soap and water, and the antibiotic ointment should help as well.
Do you have Usnea tincture, by any chance? My geriatric, half senile cat got into a scrap with a raccoon and we dabbed the wounds with Usnea barbata tincture (made with vodka), and they healed cleanly with no infection, including one close to his eye. We just used a cotton swab to apply it sparingly. He hated it, but it was effective.


Thank you for the reassurance, Catherine! Alas, I have many tinctures, but Usnea is not amongst them. That is good to know. Glad your cat healed up okay, raccoons can be super rough.


 
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Cat bites are notorious for getting infected due to the bacteria they carry in heir mouths, particularly, pasturella. Formation of abscess in cats is extremely common, in humans it commonly leads to sepsis.

In a perfect world you would grab a syringe and flush the wound, hard, to try to dilute the bacteria.  Ideally with warm sterile saline (boiled salted water that is cooled or contact lens solution) or a specific disinfectant containing chlorhexidine (dexidin, hibitane) that will neither burn nor cause damage to the tissues or the eyes. The lack of bleeding, in the case is a bad thing, as that would have helped flush out this injury.

Contrary to what you may have heard or seen, hydrogen peroxide is NOT appropriate for wound cleansing as it damages the tissue, burns like crazy and is incredibly risky around the eyes.

Despite everything, abscesses are still highly likely, and not necessarily where the obvious wound is. Commonly it is the apparently minor, often unseen puncture wounds, that blow up into abscesses days later.  The tooth of a cat basically acts like a hypodermic needle shooting bacteria deep into the tissues.

The eye is likely a claw injury, vs a bite injury, that is a good thing. Claws although dirty, are not nearly as bad as teeth.

Generally stitching MUST be done (only when first properly cleaned with in a few hours - otherwise you risk trapping bacteria within the wound) when the edges are still "fresh" other wise they will not unite and heal without "freshening the edges".

A cone might be a good idea. Take kitty's temp (anal thermometer) for the next few days to monitor for fever due to infection.  Feel the body, every millimeter, several times a day to look for the lump of forming abscesses. These will require draining and antibiotics, most likely by a vet. Good luck.





 
Heather Sharpe
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Thank you so much, Lorinne. Cat abscesses are awful, for sure. And hard to find! When she had the aformentioned coyote bite some years ago, I didn't even know it was there until the abscess burst. I had taken her to the vet the day before cause she was running a fever and having a hard time breathing. The vet didn't find it either, even though I asked her to check the spot where it turned out to be...and then sent us away with no other help. Having seen how bad abscesses can be definitely made me panic initially and still has me worried.

The lack of bleeding, in the case is a bad thing, as that would have helped flush out this injury.

Contrary to what you may have heard or seen, hydrogen peroxide is NOT appropriate for wound cleansing as it damages the tissue, burns like crazy and is incredibly risky around the eyes.

Despite everything, abscesses are still highly likely, and not necessarily where the obvious wound is. Commonly it is the apparently minor, often unseen puncture wounds, that blow up into abscesses days later.  The tooth of a cat basically acts like a hypodermic needle shooting bacteria deep into the tissues.


I did wonder if that might be the case with the lack of bleeding. Thanks for the reminder about hydrogen peroxide. I never use the stuff for those reasons. What's your take on the bacitracin? I learned from reading that triple antiobiotic ointment isn't safe for cats, as it can sometimes cause serious problems. Seemed like there were mixed opinions on the safety of bacitracin by itself. From my understanding, it sounds like it won't do much if an infection is already established.

The possibility of wounds I can't see is definitely something on my mind. She is very, very fluffy and her fur color makes it hard to see. We will continue monitoring her. So far, she seems to be acting normal. The wound has a partial scab and looks okay. I know when she had the coyote bite, the vet told us to keep removing the scabs at the edges until we saw that the deeper part of the wound was healing up so that it didn't heal over the top and turn into an abscess again. That was obviously a much, much deeper wound. But I was wondering if the same applied here?

The eye is likely a claw injury, vs a bite injury, that is a good thing. Claws although dirty, are not nearly as bad as teeth.

Generally stitching MUST be done (only when first properly cleaned with in a few hours - otherwise you risk trapping bacteria within the wound) when the edges are still "fresh" other wise they will not unite and heal without "freshening the edges".

A cone might be a good idea. Take kitty's temp (anal thermometer) for the next few days to monitor for fever due to infection.  Feel the body, every millimeter, several times a day to look for the lump of forming abscesses. These will require draining and antibiotics, most likely by a vet. Good luck.


I think you're definitely right about it being a claw vs. a tooth. That's a little worrisome about the stitching. Its quite small, so I didn't think of that.
We did put the cone on, as I figured it can't be good for her to be wiping her paws on it, what with also putting them in the litter box and such. Taking her temperature that way scares me a little for fear I'll hurt her, but I think we will do it. Will definitely be checking for any sign of abscesses daily. If anything seems awry, it's off to the vet with her. Thank you again!
 
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Heather, most country folks that have livestock....including cats.....keep a bottle of injectable penicillin in the frig. It’s cases like this when that bottle comes in handy. Often one injection is all that is needed to prevent an infection with this small kind of wound. It surely beats paying a big vet bill a week later when an abscess develops.
 
Lorinne Anderson
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I am unfamiliar with bacitrain (sp?) and would be concerned it would be strictly for topical use and MAY not be safe around the eyes, as I would be concerned with any topical application so close to the eye. Perhaps an ointment or drop suitible for eye infections would be safer?

In Canada there is no access to over the counter antibiotics, farm or not, it is highly regulated here to prevent over use and antibiotic resistance. IF that IS an option where you live that you want to try I would Google your antibiotic and how effective it is for pasturella. Then determine what an appropriate dose, by weight, kitty would need.

Pretty impossible to hurt kitty with thermometer - ideally a flexi tip, quick read ((5-10 seconds) that has been lubricated (even spit will work - ON thermometer tip), then just "slide it in" and wait until it beeps.

The quick read, flexi tip, digital thermometers are really well worth the cost ($10-$15)and having on hand for human or beast (Yes, do clean well!!!). An elevated temp is a sure sign you have a problem. This can save a lot of "wondering" when a critter is appearing "off".

Monitoring is likely your best option, at this time.
 
Heather Sharpe
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Lorinne Anderson wrote:I am unfamiliar with bacitrain (sp?) and would be concerned it would be strictly for topical use and MAY not be safe around the eyes, as I would be concerned with any topical application so close to the eye. Perhaps an ointment or drop suitible for eye infections would be safer?

In Canada there is no access to over the counter antibiotics, farm or not, it is highly regulated here to prevent over use and antibiotic resistance. IF that IS an option where you live that you want to try I would Google your antibiotic and how effective it is for pasturella. Then determine what an appropriate dose, by weight, kitty would need.

Pretty impossible to hurt kitty with thermometer - ideally a flexi tip, quick read ((5-10 seconds) that has been lubricated (even spit will work - ON thermometer tip), then just "slide it in" and wait until it beeps.

The quick read, flexi tip, digital thermometers are really well worth the cost ($10-$15)and having on hand for human or beast (Yes, do clean well!!!). An elevated temp is a sure sign you have a problem. This can save a lot of "wondering" when a critter is appearing "off".

Monitoring is likely your best option, at this time.


Thank you again, Lorinne! Your expertise with animals is a real gift to Permies and to me!
The bacitracin I am referring to is just an antiobiotic ointment for scrapes and cuts. I stopped using it since I wasn't sure. I'm just using plantain salve (Plantago major, not the banana type things) now cause it's what I have and have used near my own eyes.

You're right, the thermometer deal wasn't that difficult. No fever. Monitoring it is. Thanks again!
 
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Heather, bacitracin ointment is fine.

Another thing that many rural folks keep in their livestock medicine box is furacin ointment. It works well for most wounds. Personally, I use it on myself for cuts and scrapes, too.

By the way, if your kitty were to have showed up at our veterinary clinic, I wouldn’t have stitched it. Small wounds like this usually heal up just fine and don’t leave a visible scar.
 
Heather Sharpe
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Su Ba wrote:Heather, bacitracin ointment is fine.

Another thing that many rural folks keep in their livestock medicine box is furacin ointment. It works well for most wounds. Personally, I use it on myself for cuts and scrapes, too.

By the way, if your kitty were to have showed up at our veterinary clinic, I wouldn’t have stitched it. Small wounds like this usually heal up just fine and don’t leave a visible scar.


Thank you, Su Ba! Good to know about the bacitracin and the furacin. I've just been doing a calendula compress (apparently quite good for cat scratches) followed by plantain salve, since I wasn't sure about the bacitracin. It's working quite splendidly.

That is a big relief about the stitching. The little flap made me worried it wouldn't close. Thank you!

She seems to be doing well. The wound is healing up okay. Daily checks for abscesses and elevated temps continue, but so far no issues.
 
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