Posted By: Greg - Vet

Cat fight causes sore bottom

Cat fights are common in built up areas when a high density of cats are found in a relatively small area. ‘Entire’, or non-neutered, male cats are especially territorial and will fight between each other very commonly over resources like land, food and female cats. They also tend to stray further afield, encountering more cats. Meep was an adult entire male moggy who got himself into such a scrap, and ended up with a very sore bottom.

Meep was used to wandering outside for long periods, especially at night, but one evening came in acting very oddly. He was crying out and was reluctant to walk very well. He seemed to have difficulty using his back legs and his owners feared that he had been involved in a car accident.

A trip to the vets was warranted – Meep hadn’t really been to the vets before, but at home he was usually quite relaxed. Once he was examined, he really caused quite a fuss, and became quite aggressive when his back end was inspected, lashing out, which was out of character. Meep must have been quite painful to show this reaction, but the cause wasn’t clear, though no bones appeared obviously broken. He did however have a high temperature, so it seemed he was suffering from an infection. As he was so sore over his back end, it was difficult to get more information, but there seemed to be some swelling, so an abscess was suspected.

Abscesses occur commonly in entire male cats, as they are the result of fighting, with puncture wounds from claws or teeth becoming infected. Pus then builds up under the skin and the abscess develops. This creates pain, swelling and a fever. Meep was given antibiotics and anti-inflammatory pain relief to make him comfortable overnight, and a follow up appointment was made to recheck his painful area under a general anaesthetic. At the same time, he was to be castrated and microchipped – this was something Meep’s owners were planning on getting done at some point anyway, so it proved to be good timing. Microchipping is also a very important procedure for cats to undergo, as they can often end up missing, so the microchip that is placed under the skin can help relocate an owner quickly and easily.

When he was admitted for his procedure, Meep was more like himself but still walking oddly. He would still not allow anyone to touch his back end, and it seemed more swollen. Whilst being prepared for his anaesthetic, the cause was confirmed as an abscess on his lower back burst through his skin, discharging foul smelling pus everywhere! Once ‘asleep’ under his anaesthetic, he was castrated and microchipped successfully, but also his wound was explored now that he couldn’t feel the examination.

It was no wonder that Meep was so painful, as the abscess and infected tissue was discovered to be very extensive, and a lot of dead skin tissue had to be trimmed away. This left a very large area of exposed flesh which needed to be flushed and cleaned, but this couldn’t be closed easily. The decision was taken to leave the wound open to heal by ‘secondary intention’. The edges would be left to join up by themselves rather than through surgery, and being left ‘open’ meant that the wound could be cleaned with salt water, with medical grade manuka honey applied to the surface. This special type of honey has healing properties, draws moisture out of wounds and creates a pH that prevents bacteria from growing, and so was perfect for Meep’s big wound.

However, with a large patch of flesh on show Meep had to wear a buster collar cone so that he wouldn’t lick the wound and interfere with its healing, and also had to be housebound, which he hadn’t been used to. Over the next few weeks, the wound gradually shrunk down until he could be signed off from the practice and allowed to return to his normal habits. It was anticipated that now he had been castrated, he wouldn’t clash with other cats so much, and therefore not have such a nasty wound ever again!

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