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Adventure leads to clinic visit

Saturday morning, 9 a.m. There are two appointments scheduled. Both are cats. Buddy was just neutered four weeks ago, so we see him first. Besides, Mow Mow’s parents are new clients and still filling out their paperwork.

Buddy had gotten loose a couple of times and the owner thought the back left leg might be hurt. He was eating and drinking, but not normally for a few days. He was also sleeping a lot more. On the physical exam, he was an ideal weight, looked good, but he had a small amount of gingivitis and some swelling at his hock.

I talked about the possibility of a cat fight and borrowed Buddy to take to the back to have his leg shaved, scrubbed and cleaned. With the fur removed, it was easy to see 20 or 30 puncture wounds. There was also a swelling on the hock that was about the size of two stacked dimes. The swelling was very soft, so I wasn’t sure if it was an abscess or joint fluid from trauma. Regardless, it was very small. There was no pain on flexion and extension, so I really did not think it was broken. I did advise that if it did not get better, we might want to get him back and do some x-rays.

(We are moving more and more toward defensive medicine. Even though, I would not have taken rads on my own cat with these signs, people are demanding a zero tolerance for missed diagnosis. This seems to already be the protocol for corporate hospitals. That means in the future these young folks would have spent an extra $145 for something that the vet reasonably knows is not a problem. For now, I documented that we discussed rads and they opted to wait.)

While Becky Jo and Rusty were cleaning up Buddy, I moved on to Mow Mow, a beautiful gray spotted cat who almost looked like a Bengal. She had been declawed and had not been in heat during the time she had been with the new caretakers. The owner shared the custody of Mow Mow with a neighbor. Mow Mow had showed up few months ago and lives outside. She hasn’t eaten in a few days.

Mow Mow’s owner thought she had an abscess in her mouth. The swelling on the right side of the head was huge. The hard swelling was four inches in diameter and stuck out at least three and half inches. It was hard enough that I cautioned that it might actually be a tumor. (We talked about a biopsy now and surgery later if it was.) Mow Mow was not as nice as Buddy and the head is not a safe place to be cutting on an awake cat. We made a plan for blood work and anesthesia. Mow Mow would stay the weekend.

There was not a soft spot in Mow Mow’s swelling, so I chose a ventral (toward the ground) site for my first incision. Green, thick pus with a touch of red poured out. A couple of cuts into the top of the wound and lots of flushing to get out as much pus as we could. Mow Mow woke up feeling better and the clients were happy when we called.

Both cats had been in cat fights. The tooth or claw goes into the skin and the elastic skin tightens around the tooth or claw. When the tooth or claw is removed, the skin wipes off bacteria which then lives under the skin. It is warm and dark and the bacteria grows very well. It might be okay if the bacteria just stayed in the one spot, but it gets into the blood stream and makes the cats sick. This is why they both were not eating as well as normal.

Both cats were put on antibiotics with special properties to infiltrate infected tissue, pain meds and topical cleaner. They both got fluids to help flush out the toxins and Buddy got an injection to help his appetite. Buddy will be at home, Mow Mow will spend the weekend. Katie said that Mow Mow’s topical hot pack went okay today (Sunday), but will be “fun” in a few days.

Sunday morning nine a.m., I am in to supervise kennels. Mow Mow is doing much better. Buddy’s parents don’t answer my text, hopefully that is a good sign. Two cats in fights, my staff wonder if it is the same fight. But Mow Mow’s was a fight in the way of girl cats to slap the face. Buddy’s is a fight in the way of boy cats: lots of bites in the rear, perhaps to castrate. Soon Buddy will not have the testosterone that makes him want to fight. But there will be other cat fights and cat bite abscesses.

MJ Wixsom, DVM MS is a best-selling Amazon author who practices at Guardian Animal Medical Center in Flatwoods, Ky. GuardianAnimal.com 606-928-6566