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Infected Cat Bite?


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We're in the FL Keys for the winter and we've got a lot of feral cats down here. My two boys are known cat haters, so we've been careful about walking around the neighborhood, but apparently not careful enough. The cat must have been crouching in the thick brush when one of the boys got close…it happened so fast. Cat escaped but not before tearing a hole in the back of Jet's leg (between wrist and elbow of the front leg) plus a few more scratches and bites. The major wound is not the worst I've seen on a greyhound, you know how that skin tears so easily, but his wrist joint is very swollen.

 

The incident happened on Saturday night. My DH cleaned the wounds with betadine as advised by the vet tech at the vet's office who was closed at the time. Nothing looked too bad, so I waited until Monday morning to get them to the vet. By late Sunday night, I could see a little swelling in that wrist. By Mon morning there was more. Vet cleaned it and prescribed tramadol, rimadyl, and 450mg clindamycin twice a day. I didn't like the look of it and the vet isn't grey savvy so I got some advice on grey savvy vets in South FL and took him up to the mainland on Tues. Doc concurred with the 1st vet that it could be edema and/or infection. Said to stay the course on clindamycin and that the dose was right. Offered hyperbaric treatments to aid in healing.

 

It's Thursday and it doesn't look any better…maybe a little worse and moving down into the front of his foot. It's close to the size of a small tangerine around his wrist and it's warm to the touch. I've read about needing to open the skin and debride, I've read about joint taps after spider bites and other antibiotic treatments (baytril and clavamox). All I know is that he's been on the antibiotic since Monday and it's only getting worse. No one has done any ultrasound, X-ray, or needle aspiration and I'm concerned we don't really know what's going on and so not treating correctly.

 

I feel like crap I didn't take him in for antibiotics on Saturday night or Sunday and I feel like crap we let this happen to him…again. Last time was worse for the cat, but we treated immediately at the vet with rabies boosters (which by the way was just in Oct, so no need for another according to both vets) and antibiotics and both boys were just fine.

 

Any advice/shared experience on this infection (diagnosis, treatment) would be much appreciated. BTW, we've got a 2PM follow up at the local vet's office today.

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Cat bites are notoriously horrible for infections. Your vet should probably test it to see if they are using the right antibiotic. It also might need to be drained. Wet compresses, as warm as he can stand, will help things along, too.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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If you have access to a hyperbaric chamber I would definitely use it. It is used extensively for diabetic wound healing and burn healing plus many other things. It forces a greater amount of oxygen into the bloodstream which greatly aids the healing process. Our friend ran one when my husband had ankle surgery and he used it to speed the healing. The surgeon was skeptical when we said my husband was going to use it but was a believer after he saw the results. Good luck, cat bites are so bad!

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I'm not a vet and don't play one on TV, but clindamycin seems an interesting choice for a cat bite.

Like greysmom said - cat bites and deep scratches are notorious for infections. I was clawed badly one night and by morning when I went to the doctor the red streaks were way up my arm. My doctor held up his forefinger and said "this is what causes bubonic plague". Then held his middle finger next to it and said "this is what cats carry in their spit - they are very closely related". I don't know how totally true that is.

Now I have "Cat Scratch Fever" in my head. :blush

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Sounds like it's deeply infected, possibly into the joint. Not surprising, as cat bites are notorious for rapid infection. Something similar happened to my Henry- he was bitten by a spider and had all the symptoms you're describing. I had never seen him in that much pain before or since.

 

Henry had to have IV antibiotics and a joint tap to flush out all the pus. He was on two different types of oral antibiotics for about six weeks. I ended up going to the e-vet at a specialty clinic, as they were more prepared to deal with an infection of that caliber.

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Sounds like it's deeply infected, possibly into the joint. Not surprising, as cat bites are notorious for rapid infection. Something similar happened to my Henry- he was bitten by a spider and had all the symptoms you're describing. I had never seen him in that much pain before or since.

 

Henry had to have IV antibiotics and a joint tap to flush out all the pus. He was on two different types of oral antibiotics for about six weeks. I ended up going to the e-vet at a specialty clinic, as they were more prepared to deal with an infection of that caliber.

I wish we were home; we live almost on the PA state line in OH and I would have taken him where you took Henry. I saw your posts about Henry's spider bite and it sounds similar to Jet's wrist, but Jet doesn't have much pain (or is a master at not showing it). He's still walking on it and let's the vet really poke at it without even trying to pull away. With everything Henry has been through, it must have been truly awful for you to rate it the worst pain.

 

Took him to our local vet for a follow up and we got a different doc. She was great and worked with greyhounds all through vet school and was obviously quite familiar. She also brought in the old time vet to take a look at Jet's leg and he agreed with her. They are assuming at this point it has not gotten into the joint and they don't want to introduce a needle to the area if it hasn't. They dressed it with some salve and want to try some compresses along with an additional type of antibiotic until early next week. If it's not better by then, they'll consider the joint tap and/or something more aggressive. His temperature is normal and has only very mild swelling in the lymph nodes in the armpit of that leg. The vet knows I came in looking for more aggressive treatment and still she advised to wait and said she'd wait if he were hers. So, we'll work the compresses and salve and hopefully that new antibiotic will kick in. Hate we're going into a weekend.

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I had the same thing happen with Brees's nose. We threw tons of drugs at it, and it just got worse until it reopened and drained.

 

Here's the thread. Scroll to the bottom of the first post to see it at its worst.

 

http://forum.greytalk.com/index.php/topic/291782-brees-with-her-new-roman-nose-monday-all-better/?hl=%2Bbrees+%2Bnose

 

It was no fun at all, and she felt terrible. I'm sorry for your baby.

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I had the same thing happen with Brees's nose. We threw tons of drugs at it, and it just got worse until it reopened and drained.

 

Here's the thread. Scroll to the bottom of the first post to see it at its worst.

 

http://forum.greytalk.com/index.php/topic/291782-brees-with-her-new-roman-nose-monday-all-better/?hl=%2Bbrees+%2Bnose

 

It was no fun at all, and she felt terrible. I'm sorry for your baby.

Oh, poor Brees - that cat got her good :( I think I remember seeing this because she looks like my Cecil in the picture who is fawn and has a Roman nose (a natural one, not cat-induced!). I think if Jet's swelling was not directly over the joint, they'd be more apt to drain it now, but they're concerned they'll puncture the joint sac and introduce infection that is currently not there. (I think I got that right - I read a lot but I'm not in the medical field!).

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I wish we were home; we live almost on the PA state line in OH and I would have taken him where you took Henry. I saw your posts about Henry's spider bite and it sounds similar to Jet's wrist, but Jet doesn't have much pain (or is a master at not showing it). He's still walking on it and let's the vet really poke at it without even trying to pull away. With everything Henry has been through, it must have been truly awful for you to rate it the worst pain.

 

Yep, you're right. With Hen's leg amp, he was in pain, but it was under control. The spider bite incident was the only time I ever had to stay up with him all night. He cried and panted and refused to put any weight on it until we got him to PVSEC. With his tumor leg, he walked fairly normally until the leg came off. :lol:dunno

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My doctor held up his forefinger and said "this is what causes bubonic plague". Then held his middle finger next to it and said "this is what cats carry in their spit - they are very closely related". I don't know how totally true that is.

 

This is actually true. Cats have all kinds of nasty bacteria on their teeth, many that are not even known or common in any other infection. I got bit by one of my own cats a few years ago (for the record, he's a good cat- it was just a moment of sheer panic for him). And within an hour, my hand was swollen up and infected. Incredible pain- the doctor gave me strong painkillers. I believe augmentin is usually the standard ABX for cat bites.

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Guest budsmom

The other reason cat bites are so awful is that they are really punctures that close once the tooth comes out. Then all that nasty bacteria gets sealed into the wound where it can really move in and cause infection. It's not uncommon at all for cat bites to abcess for that reason.

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My best wishes for Jet. I've been trying to warm up this winter by sinking into your IG pictures & I'm sorry this is bringing some clouds into view for you. I hope the compresses & abx do the trick. :beatheart

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How's Jet doing?

Thanks for asking :) He's doing a little better but not much. We're continuing the 2 ABX for the infection and have been using warm then cool compresses and some drawing salve. Doesn't seem to be getting worse and maybe slightly better. I'll take him back on Monday which will be one week since the clindamycin and 4 days since the additional cefpodoxime. He still doesn't have much pain or is really good at not showing it. Poor boy. We'll check back in after we go back next week.

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The swelling in Jet's leg is finally going down. We had a follow up with the vet yesterday and we're going to keep him on the antibiotics for another 5 days. If it's not 100% better, she wants him on them for longer…until the swelling is all gone. I don't think the black salve did much since we didn't see anything actually come out of the area, but who knows. I think it just took time for the antibiotics to kick in.

 

Thanks for all the advice and good-wishes :)

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