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Help! Cat needs surgery

June 30th, 2006, 05:13 PM
Hi - my cat was bitten in his neck last week. I took him to the vet after an abcess formed and it was drained andn cleaned out and he has been on antibiotics. Now the area is becoming swollen again, slightly below the puncture wound, and the vet thinks that it is probably an under-the-skin abcess which needs to be surgically removed. I am taking him in first thing tomorrow morning to check and make sure thats whats going on, but odds are he is going to need surgery.

Has anyone been through this with their cat? Any advice you can give me on what to expect/do/how to prepare would be appreciated.


June 30th, 2006, 05:28 PM
It should be a simple procedure, similar to the first. They don't have to keep them under for very long. If he's a healthy cat, everything will go well. Did the vet say he planned to put in a drain? Keep him in overnight? One of my cats had a similar procedure, bite then abcess then what I assume was a secondary abcess on his forehead. He's fine now.
I'm interested that your cat got the second abcess while taking antibiotics. Did the vet then switch him to a different med?

June 30th, 2006, 06:43 PM
The vet mentioned she might have to put in a drain if a second abcess formed - what does that mean? Is that something that stays in for a while? He won't be a happy kitty if he can't go outside..

As far as the antibiotics thing - they gave me antibiotics to give him the first time we went in to drain the original abcess (monday) and yesterday evening and today i started to notice swelling again, just below the original wound. I described it to the vet and she thinks its an under the skin abcess but they will tell me for sure when i take him in tomorrow.

July 1st, 2006, 07:17 AM
It's a narrow tube that they leave in after the surgery, anchored with a couple of stitches, to drain any remaining infection. Usually, if everything goes well, they remove it after a few days.
Whether he has the drain or not, you'll have to find a way to keep him quiet post-op. You may want to re-think letting him go outside. Either he is being attacked or is a fighter himself, which means this is likely to happen again. Even though he would initially be unhappy at being confined indoors, don't rule it out. Extra playtime, maybe even a companion down the road, will help.
If he is not neutered, have it done right away. Neutered cats are not as antsy, spray less, and are just generally more settled, depending on the cat. If he has a second surgery, the vet could neuter him at the same time :)

July 1st, 2006, 06:07 PM
Well good news - turns out Wink does not need surgery because the swelling I noticed turned out just to be a swollen lymph node and NOT an abcess. So Wink and I are much happier now. And yes he is definitely neutered - this was his first cat bite in 2 1/2 years so I am hoping that he just wandered into the wrong place and learned his lesson!

July 2nd, 2006, 05:42 PM
Just some food for thought Siberian - outdoor cats can be converted to indoors...yes his abscess may heal, but FIV and Feline Leukemia are viral diseases which run rampant in outdoor cat populations. These are fatal diseases. I lost a cat I had from a kitten 2 years ago to FIV. He was an indoor/outdoor cat for only the first 2 years of his life - then I chose to go indoor only for my cats. He was diagnosed with FIV at age 15 - about 13 years after he'd been allowed outdoors. He died a year later, and it's not a nice illness. If I'd not been converted to have indoor cats then, that would've done it. I do everything I can to protect my pets from disease, accidents, etc - and here I unknowingly put his life in danger, thinking he wouldn't be happy if he couldn't go outside. He adjusted very quickly and rest assured he was a happy guy. Just food for thought, having lost a cat to a nasty disease that he never would've gotten if I'd kept him indoors.

July 2nd, 2006, 05:44 PM
PS - Both FIV and FeLV are diseases which are normally spread via deep muscle bites from an infected cat. Thus an indoor cat under normal circumstances is virtually at 0% risk, but outdoor cats have a huge risk of contracting either of these (and fleas, worms, getting hit by cars/eaten by dogs/eaten by coyotes/drinking antifreeze or other poisons/getting into the hands of a sick animal torturer etc etc etc)

July 2nd, 2006, 11:49 PM
Wink is vaccinated for those things. I'm assuming that at least somewhat cuts down on the risk that he will get those diseases? I know the dangers of letting your cat have an outdoor life, but I honestly think that Wink would be truly miserable indoors. Before he ever went outside he spent his days meowing and whining and trying to get out the windows (sucessfully sometimes!). I don't see it as putting his life at risk, I see it as giving him the best possible life, and doing whats best, for him. I dont think outdoor lives are best for all cats and I definitely understand that outdoor cats have a shorter life on average, but I feel like I know my cat and I think this is best for him. I also feel that he would make this choice if it were his to make. That sounds weird but its how I feel. I'm sorry to hear about your cat getting sick from being outdoors though. That is very sad!

July 3rd, 2006, 01:21 PM
For FeLV and FIV? I wouldn't count on vaccination. Vaccination is not a cure-all, they don't come without negatives. Vaccinating reduces the risk but is no guarantee; vaccinated cats still get these diseases, just maybe in less numbers.

(BTW the FeLV vaccine has been linked to fibrosarcoma in cats.)

I hope you reconsider whether or not he can be happy indoors. The rescue I'm with has taken hundreds of cats in from shelters, some (probably most) of whom were indoor/outdoor or outdoor cats. We have never been unsuccessful in having every cat adapt to indoor life. Probably the biggest potential problem is initially, they do want to go out. I have one here who I've adopted who was definitely indoor/outdoor or outdoor...he did want out for a few months. He got out too, maybe 4 times total (quick). I think he realized he likes it better inside (last time he was out for almost 48 hrs, and came back with fleas and an abscess). The most he does now is come out with my while I garden, and he doesn't go more than maybe 15 feet away - and he comes when I call him back. I think we are attributing our own emotions to them when we say that our cat "wouldn't be happy outside", I've heard so many people say that then later say they are so glad they made the decision, and their cats seem overall healthier and happier. We all think OUR cat wouldn't do well, but it's just not so.

I wish you could've seen my boy whom I had since he was tossed in the streets at 6 weeks old, at age 16 - skin and bones, slowly one by one stopping eat every favourite food. Each time I thought his time had come and I had to make the decision, he'd rally. He was so athletic, strong, and active til he became sick...he was 6 lbs and so weak when he died. His liver in the end failed, and the day he passed, the vet said that he'd probably been feeling nauseous and sick for weeks. It was a nightmare for me to see my little man die this way, and I can only imagine how it was for him. I'm not sure I got the timing right with his euthanasia - because he rallied every time I thought it was time, and while not suffering was so important for me, so was not robbing him of good time. So if you think outdoor cats will be miserable indoors, I promise he'd be more miserable going through what my cat did.