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Old April 12th, 2012, 08:51 AM
Meesh Meesh is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
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My cat has a seroma ...

Hi, Dr Lee

I've read a previous thread from a while back which related to a member's dog who had developed a seroma and was hoping you could give me some advice.
We adopted 2 cats from a shelter last year August - one of them, Trix, is about a year old now. After moving house in Jan, they spent quite a bit of time outside and often in the street. About a month ago, Trix started behaving very strangely and seemingly couldn't go to the toilet; we eventually noticed small amounts of blood around the house and he was in noticeable pain. He also had a deep wound on his front leg. After an overnight stay at a vet, which cost a small fortune, we were told that he may have been bumped by a car which would explain the trauma to his abdomen. He responded well to a drip and managed to go to the toilet several times thereafter and during his time there. He came home and took his medication nicely and looked much better. We thought he had made a full recovery until I noticed a sac-like, hardish "bulb" just underneath his tummy area. It resembled a hernia, but he wasn't in any noticeable discomfort. He received a scan and X-ray and we were then told that he had a seroma. The vet also showed us the fluid which was almost odourless and the colour of ginger ale. He couldn't, however, tell us what had caused it. He drained it and prescribed antibiotics; he also gave him an anti-inflammatory.
It is still there (a week later), albeit slightly smaller and I'm starting to feel increasingly more concerned. Even though the vet insisted that surgery wasn't really necessary, I don't know how serious this is and if it will go away on its own? PLEASE HELP!
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Old April 13th, 2012, 01:20 PM
RUSTYcat's Avatar
RUSTYcat RUSTYcat is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Le rocher
Posts: 404
Hi Meesh and welcome to the forum!

I had replied to your post yesterday......then, I had a note from a friend saying, "What were you thinking...that was a question for Dr. Lee!!!"

Well, the fact is, I wasn't "thinking" anything other than focussing on the health details....but the direction to Dr. Lee - the very first line - completely escaped me. If only there were a convenient rock nearby under which I could slink!

Apologies to you, Meesh and to our extremely well-respected resident Vet, Dr. Lee.
the more i learn about (some) people, the more i luv my cats

Last edited by RUSTYcat; April 14th, 2012 at 12:33 PM. Reason: need to read first, then (maybe) open mouth...
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Old April 14th, 2012, 11:48 PM
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Dr Lee Dr Lee is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: East Coast
Posts: 1,060
Rustycat - thanks for emailing me on this. I have been away from this forum for far too long! I miss everyone here. Anytime anyone wants my , please PM me!


It sounds like Trix has quite a story to tell! Seems like there was an adventure and unfortunately some physical trauma. I am glad that Trix is recovering.

Seromas are typically caused by trauma. How does this happen? Trauma breaks some large blood vessels. It occurs in a location where there is space to bleed - like the area you described. The blood pools and with no where to go and no break in the skin, it sits there. The blood cells degrade and are slowly absorbed. Over time the fluid is also absorbed.

If the fluid is drained, then it can help increase the healing. Antibiotics may or may not be given. It depends upon the concern of the site developing an infection.

What type of anti-inflammatory was given?

Surgery is often not needed. The need for surgery depends upon location, underlying cause and severity. It sounds like the lump is much smaller and there is no sign of infection and Trix is otherwise doing well???

It is common for there to be a firm swelling for a prolonged period of time after the seroma has been drained. This is for a couple of reasons: 1) the underlying trauma may have left inflammation or scar tissue (however usually this is not the main cause and sometimes not part of the equation) and 2) the body never was meant to have seromas. Thus when fluid pools in the body, it causes localized inflammation. This inflammatory cycle can continue for many weeks in many cases. Furthermore sometimes there is still some very small amount of fluid that still needs to be removed by the body. At any rate, the presence of the fluid, does cause an inflammatory cascade.

When to worry:
If the area starts to enlarge; if the area becomes red, painful or pus is noted; the lump/swelling does not continue to slowly resolve.

I hope that helps!

Everyone - sorry to have been away for so long! Feel free to PM me anytime.
Christopher A. Lee, DVM, MPH, Diplomate ACVPM
Preventive Medicine Specialist With a Focus on Immunology and Infectious Disease
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