Cat Wound Care
"Cat wound care requires that the wound be cleaned with a sterile saline solution and then treated with antibiotic ointment. Larger wounds may require stitches. Infection may require prescription antibiotics."
Cat Wound Care Treatment
There are several important things to know about the treatment of cat wounds.
When performing cat wound care at home for any type of wound, do not use hydrogen peroxide. It does kill bacteria, but it can also destroy healthy tissue. Use sterile saline to clean wounds instead. You can then apply an antibiotic ointment such as Triple Antibiotic Ointment.
If you take your cat to the veterinarian for cat wound care, your vet will probably prescribe antibiotics regardless of whether or not the wound is infected. If the wound is not infected, this will prevent an infection from developing. Make sure to give your cat the full course of antibiotics prescribed, even if your cat seems to be feelings better.
Types of Cat Wounds
There are several types of wounds that require cat wound care.
Superficial Lacerations, cat scratches or cuts - These are wounds in which the skin is not cut all the way through. They may be caused by sharp objects or by bites or scratches. They usually do not need stitches. Treat these types of feline wounds by cleaning them with sterile saline and then apply antibiotic ointment daily until the cut has healed. If you notice signs of infection (increased redness of the area, red streaks running from the area, puss draining from the wound, a bad smell) take your cat to the veterinarian.
Herbalists believe that wounds can be treated with herbs know for their ability to reduce pain, lessen swelling and help the healing process. It makes sense to have an herbal treatment such as Wound Dr. in your medicine chest.
Deep Lacerations or cat open wounds - These are cuts that go all the way through the skin. Unless they are very small (less than an inch long), they will need stitches. Depending on what caused the injury and the likelihood of infection, there are two ways it may be treated. If it was caused by a relatively clean object and the wound is clean and is not showing any signs of infection, the wound will be cleaned and sutured. If the wound was caused by a dirty object, if the wound is dirty, or is showing signs of infection, a drain may be placed. A small tube or tubes are placed under the skin before it is stitched closed. Infection can then drain out of the wound while it heals.
Cat Puncture Wounds - These are wounds caused by sharp pointed objects or by animal bites. They may or may not go through the skin, and it can be hard to tell if they do or not. If not, they can be cleaned and antibiotic ointment applied. If they do go through the skin, drainage may be required. Wounds that look minor on the outside of the skin can actually be quite serious underneath. If your cat is bitten by another animal, she should probably see a vet just to make sure she is OK.
Abscesses - These are very nasty wounds. They are often caused by bite wounds and are common in outdoor cats. The skin heals over a previous puncture in the skin, but the bacteria from the teeth of the animal that did the biting is still growing. The cat's body produces a localized immune response and walls off the bacteria from the rest of the body, producing a thick red and yellow discharge. At first there is redness, pain, and swelling around the bite area. This gets worse until the abscess ruptures and the drainage is expelled. If you suspect your cat has an abscess, she needs to see a vet because a very severe infection can develop.
Cat Wound Care for Feline Wounds That Do Not Heal
The primary reason that a feline wound isn't healing is that there are substances trapped in the wound such as bacteria or other material that is presenting it from draining properly. Your veterinarian will recognize this immediately starting with the proper draining of the wound and then antibiotic treatment.
If the wound is constantly pulled on due to your cat's activity, they healing might not properly take place as the body will naturally try and bring two sides of a wound together. Wounds of this type are very difficult to treat.
Wounds that are not healing due to a more severe cause such as bacteria that doesn't respond to the antibiotic behind used are said to be suffering from sepsis. A more precise diagnosis and then treatment approach would be based on taking a tissue sample and looking at it under a microscope.
In wounds caused by injury there might be something in the way your cat is moving that irritates the area wounded causing a wound not to heal.
In many cats that have some type of issue with the thyroid such as endocrine disease, hypothyroidism or cushing's disease may have trouble healing due to problems with the way your cat's body deals with areas of inflammation.
Nutrition to Promote Cat Wound Healing
There is some research to support the idea that if your cat is not getting proper levels of zinc and other vitamins, the healing process might not work as well as it could It could not hurt to consider a dietary supplement that contains zinc such as Lambert Kay™ Linatone Plus® Skin & Coat Revitalizer Daily Food Supplement. An alternative approach is an all herbal product such as PetHeal which many owners find to be an effective alternative healing solution for cats. Discuss both options with your veterinarian so that they can track progress.
Why Isn't This Wound Healing?
Richard A. S. White, BVetMed, PhD, DSAS, DVR, FRCVS,Dipl. ACVS, Dipl. ECVS
The Six Mile Bottom Veterinary Specialist Center