Cats usually get abscesses as a result of fighting with other cats. The opposing cat most likely scratched or bit your cat and because of the underlying bacteria cats carry on their claws and teeth, the affected skin developed an abscess. Abscesses are pus-filled lumps resulting from a bacterial infection. Pasteurella multocida and Streptococcus are the main organisms populating most abscess sites. Noticeable symptoms of an abscess include swelling, loss of appetite, pain when moving around, fever and lethargy.
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The initial step used by both veterinarians and pet owners is to drain the puss out of the abscess if it has not begun to do this on its own. Vets usually put the cat under general anaesthesia and then use a lancing instrument to pierce the abscess. At home you may use an exacto knife that has been thoroughly cleaned. Cleaning techniques include washing it with antibacterial soap and water, cleansing it with rubbing alcohol, exposing it to an open flame and boiling the knife handle and blade in clean water. You must then make a small incision with the blade to open the abscess and allow drainage. If you prefer to not cut the wound open, you may try to encourage it to open by applying a hot wet washcloth to the area as often as possible until you see results. The first method is faster and will grant your pet more relief in a shorter period of time, and can prevent the development of a more serious condition. Therefore, which method you choose will need to take the current condition of your pet into consideration.
According to his guide entitled "Herbal Cat Care," Dr. Randy Kidd advises clients to "pack the incision with a poultice of plantain several times a day for several days. Plantain helps draw out the pus, allowing a better area for healing." Poultices are made by making a paste of the dried herb with water and wrapping it with a cloth on the affected area. It is imperative that you use an herb that is designed to draw out the fluid at this stage rather than heal the wound before it drains. Using the wrong herbs will only cause another abscess to form. It is then recommended that you treat the presence of infection in the wound by flushing it out after each plantain treatment using hydrogen peroxide.
Providing your cat with a weekly regimen of antibiotic herbs will assist in clearing up the bacteria in the abscess. The herbs may be added to food or water and may also be administered using soft malleable treats called Pill Pockets. Pill Pockets are available at most commercial pet stores, and you use them by stuffing the loose herbs inside and feeding them to your cat. Herbs used for this specific form of treatment are chamomile, echinacea, lavender and Oregon grape. All of these herbs are safe in the typical dosage used for humans for feline intake according to Dr. Kidd, and each herb has strong antibiotic properties that provide immune system support.
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