You (and your cat!) have just gone through a lot mentally and physically after your pet has experienced surgery or a wound. While perhaps you feel the worst is over, the work (for you) is just beginning.
There are specific guidelines for each type of wound. Check out which one applies most to your cat's situation.
Cat scratch disease (Bartonella henselae) is a bacterial infection spread from cats to humans. A person can be infected if a cat bites or scratches them, breaking the skin surface. It can also happen if an infected cat licks a person’s open wound. An infection occurs at the site about 3 to 14 days after the bite or scratch. The person can develop a fever, headache, poor appetite, and lethargy. Later, their lymph nodes near the bite become tender, swollen, and painful. Most cases clear on their own, but some can worsen and then need antibiotics.
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The most critical thing to do is carefully follow your veterinarian’s instructions and follow them exactly. But often, we are so stressed and relieved that the initial issue is passed that we sometimes forget what was said and often misplace the instructions. Here’s a breakdown of what to do when you are dealing with post-surgical incisions or wounds.
Call your veterinarian if the drainage does not gradually decrease over the first 5 days or the site remains swollen or "fluid-like."
**NOTE** If the area is swelling and you cannot contact your veterinarian for instructions, VERY CAREFULLY, with bandage scissors or blunt-ended scissors, make a slit on the top and bottom of the bandage to release some pressure. If there is a drain present underneath the bandage, be sure to cut on the opposite side of the bandage from where the drain is, so that the drain remains in place.
Unless your veterinarian has taught you how to properly change the bandage or wound dressing, DO NOT attempt to do it on your own. This can cause more harm than good.
If you notice any foul odors or discharge leaking out of the bandage, contact your veterinarian immediately.
It cannot be stressed enough about how important it is to follow all of your veterinarian’s instructions, give all medications as instructed, and finish them, to keep your cat’s activity restricted with a cone on.
And lastly, call a veterinarian immediately if anything does not seem normal (better safe than sorry – any delay can be costly!).
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