Abscesses In Cats

An abscess is simply defined as a “pocket of pus” located somewhere in the body. Abscesses are usually described on the side where they are located on the body. For example, a root abscess is at the tip of the tooth root, and a subcutaneous abscess is under the skin. Usually, an abscess appears as a sudden, painful swelling if it’s not inside a body cavity or tissue that may be either firm to the touch, or pressed like a water balloon. The abscess can be large or small, often causes redness if it is under the skin, and can cause local tissue destruction. Some abscesses will burst, releasing foul-smelling fluid. A cat with an abscess will often have a fever, even if the abscess has ruptured and exited the body.

If the abscess is located inside the body (for example in the liver), a fever would be expected, and if the abscess has ruptured internally, there may be additional complications of widespread internal infection or bacteria in the bloodstream say the experts from Animal Hospital Jacksonville

What Causes Boils?

A bite from another animal is one of the common causes of boils in cats. A bite introduces bacteria into the wound, the wound becomes infected, and, depending on the bacteria involved and the depth of the bite, an abscess may develop explain experts from Animal Hospital Jacksonville beach. Penetrating injuries from inanimate objects such as sticks and grass seeds can also cause abscesses, as can the previous infection at the site. Certain bacterial species are often implicated in the formation of abscesses, including: 

  • Pus-forming bacteria such as Staphylococcus, Escherichia coli, some Streptococcus species, Pseudomonas, Mycoplasma, Pasteurellamultocida, Corynebacterium, Actinomyces, Nocardia, and Bartonella 
  • Bacteria that can survive and grow only in the absence of oxygen include Bacteroides, Clostridium, and Fusobacterium.

There are many possible causes of boils in cats. A bite from another animal is one of the most common causes.

Are There Any Specific Risk Factors For Developing An Abscess?

There are certain tissues and organs that are commonly affected by abscesses. A liver abscess can usually result from a blood-borne infection. Damage to the tooth can result in a tooth root abscess. A bite wound can cause blisters under the skin. An inhaled foreign object, or acute pneumonia, can occur in the form of a lung abscess. Finally, an inner ear infection, severe sinus infection, or deep mouth infection can cause a brain abscess. How are boils treated? Treatment of boils depends on the location and severity of the infection. Most abscesses are treated on an outpatient basis rather than in an Animal Hospital. The key is to remove the pus pocket, either by surgical removal or by draining and flushing. If a foreign object has caused the abscess, it is important to make sure it is completely removed or the abscess will return.

Appropriate antibiotic therapy is an important component of the successful treatment of abscesses, regardless of location. The choice of antibiotic will be based on the bacteria involved, and the length of treatment will depend on both the bacteria and the location of the abscess. Often, your veterinarian will recommend that the pus sample be sent to a referral laboratory for culture to identify the bacteria involved and select the appropriate antibiotic. 

It is important that antibiotics are given for the entire time they are prescribed. It is also important to ensure adequate pain relief during abscess treatment. Your veterinarian can prescribe appropriate pain medication along with antibiotics. Your veterinarian can also talk to you about maintaining proper nutrition to ensure proper recovery, which may include temporary changes in diet. Finally, it will be important to limit activity during recovery to allow the involved tissues to heal properly. If surgery was performed to remove the abscess, keeping the cat quiet and contained is absolutely essential suggests the experts from Animal Hospital Arlington

abscess in cats

Is There Any Follow-up That I Should Be Aware Of For My Cat?

While your cat is recovering from an abscess, it is important to monitor for any growth from the abscess site if the abscess is superficial or any evidence that the cat is not getting better if the abscess is internal. Avoiding future recurrence depends on where the abscess occurred, and what tissues are involved. For example, in the case of recurrent anal sac abscesses, surgical removal of the gland may be recommended. In cases of prostate abscess, neutering can prevent a recurrence. For bite wound abscesses, avoid fighting or sports-fighting situations that may cause recurrence. 

Delayed or inadequate treatment can lead to chronic tissue compromise of the vessels or even organ systems, so it is important to follow all treatment instructions from your veterinarian. Proper drainage or removal of the abscess, followed by proper care and administration of antibiotics, pain medication, and nutrition, results in full recovery.

What To Do If You Find A Boil On Your Cat?

If you discover that your cat has an abscess, the first thing to do is to make an appointment to have it evaluated by your veterinarian suggests the experts from Animal Hospital Race Track Road. Then, until you can see a doctor, you should do the following:
  • Carefully trim as much hair as possible from the site so you can better see the extent of the wound.
  • Apply a clean cloth soaked in warm water or a warm compress to the site. Try keeping it on the wound for a minute or two at a time.
  • Applying hydrogen peroxide directly to open wounds is not recommended and may cause further tissue damage.
Never use alcohol on a boil. After performing these steps, the wound should clear up and you should have a better idea of ​​how bad the abscess is.

What To Expect From A Veterinarian?

When you bring your cat to the vet, the vet will usually do a thorough evaluation of the abscess and your cat’s overall health. If the abscess is open and draining, your veterinarian may treat your cat without sedation. But, if the abscess still hasn’t opened, your veterinarian may need to sedate your pet and drain the abscess. 

A sample of the pus will be collected and sent to a laboratory to give your veterinarian a better idea of ​​which antibiotics will work best against the infection explains Vets Jacksonville. In some cases, a drain may need to be inserted by the doctor to keep the abscess open and draining. It will be important to keep the drain as clean as possible. The doctor will usually remove the drain after three days. Once your cat is back home, keep him confined until he recovers. Ideally, you’ll want to place it somewhere with easy-to-clean floors and walls, such as a bathroom, laundry room, or mudroom. Make sure the room is warm and dry and provide your cat with everything it needs to recover comfortably, such as a litter box, soft blankets, food, and freshwater. Keep the wound clean by wiping it with a clean cloth soaked in warm water. Keep cleaning the site until you remove all visible pus. Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications or supplements your cat is currently taking so your veterinarian can make the best treatment decision for your pet’s unique case and help reduce the risk of a potential drug interaction.

How To Identify An Abscess?

An abscess will appear like a painful swelling or an open sore on your cat’s skin. Often, the fur at the site is missing or faded. The wound itself may or may not ooze foul-smelling pus, which in some cases may contain blood. You may not always be able to see a boil from a normal distance, but if you get close enough, you will be able to see (and smell) it. If you notice a pressing swelling on your cat’s body, but you don’t see any signs of teeth marks, this is before the abscess has ruptured. During this stage of infection, you may notice that your cat is lethargic and running a fever suggests Vets Arlington.


While there are many causes of abscesses in cats, a bite from another animal is one of the most common cause explains Vets Race Track Road. However, abscesses is not a fatal disease but make sure to visit a vet if your cat is suffering from it.