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What are Abscess?

Abscesses arise when the body is unsuccessful in fighting off the underlying infection. An abscess usually has a definitive cause, such as poor dental hygiene, trauma, and injury. An abscess may not be life-threatening on its own, but can develop into a severe condition if left untreated.

Abscesses, usually appearing as pus-filled boils, form when the skin or gums become infected. There are two types of abscess in cats, dental and skin abscesses. Dental abscesses form when bacteria invade the root of a damaged or fractured tooth. Skin abscesses usually occur after an injury, most often a bite from another cat.

Abscess Average Cost

From 232 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$700

Symptoms of Abscess in Cats

Abscesses are painful and, if left untreated, can lead to the development of serious and even life-threatening conditions such as immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia virus (FeLV). Seek immediate veterinary attention as soon as you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Signs of pain, such as pawing at the abscess
  • Loss of hair at the abscess location
  • Bad breath
  • Swelling of the face or gums
  • Red, swollen, or inflamed skin
  • Pus or blood on the skin
  • Excessive itching
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
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Causes of Abscess in Cats

Abscess is generally caused by injury or infection of the gums or skin. Dental abscesses are typically caused by tooth fracture, damage, or decay. Skin abscesses are generally attributed to fighting activity, but may occur as a result of another form of injury. 

Male cats have a higher chance of suffering from abscesses due to their aggressive personalities and tendencies to fight. Indoor cats have a decreased risk of developing abscess compared to outdoor cats for the same reason. Young cats, as well as intact cats and those that have developed abscess in the past, also have a higher risk for forming abscesses.

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Diagnosis of Abscess in Cats

Your vet will be able to make a tentative diagnosis following a physical exam based on presentation of symptoms and appearance of boils. Be sure to inform your vet of the extent and duration of your cat’s symptoms, as well as your cat’s outdoor activity and any previous history of abscesses or infection.

The physical examination will usually be sufficient for making a definitive diagnosis. However, your vet may also choose to take a bacterial culture or examine the fluid from the boils using a microscope, particularly if the abscess is difficult to identify. For dental abscesses, your vet may take an x-ray.

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Treatment of Abscess in Cats

Treatment will usually involve cleansing or lancing the boil(s) and prescribing an antibiotic regimen. In order to lance the abscesses, your vet will need to sedate your cat and put a drain in place. This is to prevent the wound from closing back up and sealing in the infection.

Antibiotics are usually prescribed to treat the underlying bacterial infection in both skin and dental abscess. Antibiotic treatments for abscess are generally prescribed for three weeks. In some cases, your vet may prescribe pain management medication as well.

For cases of a dental abscess, your vet will resolve the particular issue through root canal, extraction, or saving the affected tooth. They may also recommend dietary changes. Your vet will discuss treatment options for a dental abscess with you based on your cat’s individual needs.

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Recovery of Abscess in Cats

Recovery and prognosis will depend on whether or not the abscess has caused a more serious condition. For most cases of abscess, the prognosis is generally good with immediate treatment. Always follow your vet’s post-treatment instructions carefully.

Your cat should begin to improve within a few days of treatment, with complete healing typically observed within two weeks. Do not allow your cat to irritate the drain or the surgery site. An Elizabethan collar may help with this.

If your vet has prescribed antibiotics, it is imperative that you administer the medication for the entire recommended duration of treatment even if the condition starts to improve. Failure to do so could result in aggressive recurrence.

Preventative measures are often advised to avoid future recurrence of abscess. For dental abscess, good dental hygiene is imperative. This involves brushing your cat’s teeth daily, giving them dental treats, and eliminating harmful dental habits such as chewing on hard toys or foods. For skin abscess, it is a good idea to limit your cat’s outdoor activity, particularly if they often engage in fights with other cats.

Your vet will schedule a follow-up appointment within two to five days of treatment in order to remove the drain. However, do not hesitate to contact your vet if the condition does not seem to be improving with treatment, if you notice any swelling around the surgery site, or if the condition recurs.

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Abscess Average Cost

From 232 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$700

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Abscess Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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tabby

dog-age-icon

Two Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Bumps

Hi! My car has a white bump on his head that has not grown over the past month since I’ve noticed it. However he did scratch it and it has a small scratch on it. The bump is on his left side of his head by the base of his ear and is white. It is not large at all and is about the size of a large pimple on a human.

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, Some cats will get these types of masses as they get older. These are usually benign and nothing to worry about. If it ever starts to grow, then it should be seen by your vet and removed.

Aug. 2, 2020

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Domestic cat

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lump On The Back Right Side

So my cats tail was amputated like a month ago and he had his check up last week to see how everything was going and the vet said he was doing great well I noticed yesterday morning he has this lump on his back side and today its warm and also much bigger then it was. What may it be I'm so concerned. I made him an appointment but they cant get him in until friday afternoon.

July 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If the lump is near where the surgery was, it could be a reaction to suture, or it could be an infection. If he is doing well otherwise, you are probably fine to wait until Friday to have him seen, But if it is growing quickly or he is lethargic or does not want to eat, then you may want to ask if they can see him sooner. I hope that all goes well for him.

July 28, 2020

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Peanut

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Egyptian Mau mix

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12 Years

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Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Pain
Abscess

I have a 12 year old cat who we recently rushed to a vet hospital because an abscess busted open next to her anus. I thought at first it was an anal sac problem but they informed me it was too high. When it bursted at home, a brownish, foul smelling liquid came out. They opened the abscess, drained and flushed, and gave her an antibiotic shot. She was sent home after 9 hours with pain meds and antibiotics. They didn't close it at all and left a very deep, gaping hole in her backside. It's been 5 days now but it's still seepy and hard to keep clean. They did not give us instructions on how to keep this huge hole cleaned as we can't keep her confined in a single room where we live. She's had diarrhea too, probably from the meds but eating, drinking, and generally happy... The giant wound just doesn't seem to be healing or hasn't yet.

Sept. 20, 2018

Peanut's Owner

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Kitty

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Cat

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7 Years

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Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen By Drainage Site

My cat was in an altercation with a feral cat and developed an abscess 5 days later. I took him to the vet and the abscess was lanced and he was given a shot of antibiotics and was orally given zydaclin by the vet and I was told to give him 1 ml twice a day. It has been 36 hrs and the area that was lanced is still swollen and open, yet no pus comes out when gently squeezed. Should I be concerned? The vet did not take a culture and the abscess was lanced after local anesthesia. Thank you.

Sept. 10, 2018

Kitty's Owner

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Achillies

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Siamese

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6 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling
Loss Of Appetite

I have Two cats. My older cat developed a large swollen area on his face area... I cant Get a good look at it as he doesn’t want me to touch it. The two cats play often but my big cat hasn’t really wanted to eat since this happened. It’s been 3 days. Any ideas?

Aug. 27, 2018

Achillies' Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

It is very possible that Achilles has an abscess or injury, and he probably needs treatment. It would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian, as they can assess him and see what treatment he needs. Untreated, those abscesses can become septic. I hope that all goes well for him!

Aug. 27, 2018

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Sasa (pronounced SHA-sha)

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Maine Coon

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15 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Anxiety

My domestic partner, Sasa (pronounced SHA-sha) [friend her on facebook] has been diagnosed as having a low red blood cell count and she has an abscess on her intestine. Her vet says that she is too old, at 15.5 years, to risk having deep anesthetic surgery. He says not to bother her with any special diet and give her anything she wants while she lives out her days. After three nights in hospital with fluids and antibiotics she has been home now three weeks and is showing no pain or discomfort except for apprehension going into her room and her litter. Afterwards, and now, everything seems normal and even better. She is an extremely resilient Maine Coon. Are there symptoms of something I should be aware of for her future? Thanks to all and Merry Holiday to you and fur companions.

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Bonnie

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stray

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Slaving And Bleeding Out Mouth. Badsmeel

I have a cat i feed everyday just one afternoon came to me bloody. I thought someone had kicked her.when i finally cought her i called a vet friend that told my it was infection in the mouth. Giving kitty clavamox. Hope to help.

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Mischa

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Scottish short hair

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6 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Scratching And Shaking Head

My cat had an abscess and it was treated by a Vet. He got a small cut and antibiotics for 8 days. He had to wear a caller for 10 days. 6 days ago we took off the caller and the small cut seamed to heal also the abscess is gone. But he still shakes his head and scratches where the cut was against th door. Is it normal? Also he is a home home not sure where the abscess came from. He has recovered and it does look healed. But I'm just worried why 6 days later he still scratching it and the other part of the face against every door. Plus he shakes his head after we took off the caller.

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Nala

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DOMESTIC

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3 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Abscesses To Body

My son found a kitten approx 2 weeks old screaming on the driveway. No idea how it got there. We took her inside and began nursing her. After about a week we noticed an abscess above the right shoulder. took her to the vets-the vet said she was too small to dose an antibiotic and to keep it clean and dressed. A week later a second abscess opened up under the shoulder. Took her back to a different vet and they doses her with a skin antibiotic at 0.2mg dose BID. These abscesses healed but then a third abscess formed on her back leg. Took her back to vet-it was drained and cleaned and her dose of skin antibiotic was increased to 0.4mg BID. Antibiotics x 2 are finished and now she developed an abscess on her back mid way down. This poor angel has so suffered in 3 months--but she eats and drinks well --is playful but what is going on. We have another cat but for the past month we keep the baby in a cage for possible protection.

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Liger

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no breed

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling
Pustules
Itching
Bloody

My cat developed some sort of round swell of fluids and blood in June.. I went to vet on 26/6, and the doc told that it was infection and provided antibiotics and some cream.. After medicine finished, the wounds still not recover and i ask for extra cream since some of the wound is dried up.. Last weekend i went to other vet, because the massive wounds is still not okay, nearby his ears, eyes, neck, arm, and small ones at his rib.. Right away, the doc told that it was a sporo case.. i was devastated, he doesn't really have the symptoms of sporo.. He eats well, his waste are well too i guess.. I was told too that do not let a sporo cat scratch or let my open wound touch him.. But i was scratch yesterday.. In my heart i still don't believe that he had sporo.. I thought it was abscesses only.. I have pictures of the wounds if you would like to see it..

Abscess Average Cost

From 232 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$700

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