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Bite Wounds

Bites from Insects

Bite Wounds

A cat's mouth has many bacteria and when a cat bites due to fighting, the bacteria enter the puncture wound. Because cat's teeth are sharp and relatively narrow, the wound often heals over, but the bacteria are trapped inside.

The bacteria multiply and the cat's body reacts by trying to kill the bacteria. White blood cells, mostly neutrophils, enter the area. As the neutrophils die, more and more of them move to the area. An abscess may result.

How is a bite wound diagnosed?

If your cat is not eating, has a fever, and a history of contact with other cats, your vet will be alerted to the possibility of bite wounds. Bite wounds are usually found in those areas that are often bitten during a cat fight – limbs, head, neck, and the base of the tail. If the bite is on a leg, the cat may limp.

The cat may try to bite if the area is stroked or touched because the wound is painful. Because of the pain, some cats may appear irritable or aggressive.

Upon examining your cat, the vet may be able to see a small amount of matted fur over the bite. The fur will be clipped over the affected area, and often a small healing puncture wound can be found. It is often necessary to clip a wide area, to look for multiple puncture wounds, but caused by different teeth.

How are bite wounds treated?

After the area is clipped and cleansed and any abscesses lanced (an incision made by cutting), a relatively large opening is generally made, so the wound will continue to stay open and drain. Often antibiotic tablets will be prescribed as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories depending on the severity of the bite wound.

In addition to bacterial infections, other infections can be transmitted by cat fights. These include feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

How can I prevent abscesses?

The main way to prevent abscesses is to prevent your cat from being involved in cat fights. Keep your cat indoors. If your cat is an outdoor cat, have your cat spayed or neutered, since this will make your cat less likely to fight. When introducing new cats to each other, do it slowly.

To prevent transmission of other diseases, keep your cat's vaccination status current.


Bites from Insects

Stings of bees, wasps, hornets, or ants. Signs usually occur within about 20 minutes of the bite. Cats should be observed for at least 12-24 hours after a reaction as mild symptoms may progress in severity.

The stings of bees, wasps, and ants often occur on hairless areas such as the stomach and feet, but are most common on the face, head, or inside the mouth. Stings and bites tend to produce local inflammation and pain, which takes about an hour to subside.

Multiple stings and bites can cause a severe allergic reactions including anaphylactic shock. With some insects, such as honey bees, the entire venom-stinging apparatus is torn from the insect's body after stinging and remains attached to the victim. This apparatus contains muscle tissue that may continue contracting, thereby injecting more venom into the pet.

Do not remove this using tweezers as that may inject more venom into the pet. It is better to gently scrape (with a credit card or similar card) the sting out. Some wasps and hornets may sting repeatedly because the venom-stinger apparatus remains attached to the insect.

Signs of Insect Stings

Usually characterized by swelling of the eyelids, ear flaps, lips, and sometimes the entire face. If the pet has been stung in the nose or mouth, watch for immediate, large swelling.

This may cause the cat to have a hard time breathing. May also see hives, wheals, or welts or localised swelling if the skin is involved.

The bites are often pruritic (itch). In an anaphylatic reaction, animals may also go into shock with symptoms such as wheezing, weakness, unconsciousness, weak and thready pulse, increased heart rate, fever, or cold extremities (legs), trembling, vomiting, diarrhoea, wheezing, and collapse. Contact us immediately if any of these symptoms occur.

Immediate Treatment

Remove stings if possible. Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the area to relieve pain and swelling. Contact us.