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Actinomycosis infection occurs in bite wounds and results in abscesses, lesions, and other general signs of infection. It can occur in oral, facial, abdominal, and thoracic tissues.
Actinomycosis is a bacterium that occurs naturally in cats and other animals. Bacteria of the genus Actinomyces occur in the mouth and on teeth surfaces. Infection can occur in bite wounds and is often a component in polymicrobial infections, which are caused by several types of bacteria. Although the bacteria can cause severe symptoms, it is usually not life threatening and has a recovery rate of over 90 percent.
Actinomycosis symptoms usually present as an infection in or near a bite wound. The infection frequently causes abscesses and lesions localized near the bite wound. The infection and its associated symptoms can spread and may affect the lungs, abdomen, intestinal tract, bones, and spinal cord.
Several forms of Actinomycosis exist. All forms share abscesses as a common symptom. The types of infection include:
The most common cause of Actinomycosis is a bite wound from another cat. The bacteria that cause the infection occur naturally in the cat’s mouth. Bites, along with scratches and oral wounds, can disrupt the normal balance, causing the bacteria to become infectious. Cats with weakened immune systems, such as those suffering from an immunosuppressive disorder, are at an increased risk of developing the disease. Periodontal disease is also considered to be a risk factor.
Signs of infection that should prompt a veterinary visit include fever, swelling, redness, itching, hard round lumps, or pus and drainage from wound sites or lesions. Be prepared to discuss your pet’s medical history, the timeline associated with the onset of symptoms, the symptoms you have observed, and whether your cat has recently had a bite or other wound. Your veterinarian may use one of several methods to diagnose Actinomycosis in your cat. They will begin with a physical examination and based on clinical symptoms, preliminary treatment may begin. Actinomycosis is rarely the only bacteria present in infected tissues and is usually treated with common antibiotics, so dosing can start before the exact bacteria are identified.
To confirm the diagnosis, a biochemistry panel or blood testing, bacterial cultures from pus or infected tissues, and imaging tests may all be employed. Cytological testing of fluids or biopsy of tissues should identify the range of bacteria present. Needle or surgical biopsy may be required for testing. X-rays or CT scans can be used to identify the number, location, and size of abscesses, and to look for common symptoms that affect bone structure.
Although Actinomycosis is generally not life threatening, it does require veterinary treatment. The symptoms of a bacterial infection are often enough for a veterinarian to begin treatment before the specific bacteria has been identified. A combination of techniques will be used to treat your cat.
Most cats treated for Actinomycosis recover, and the disease is not generally life threatening. A high recurrence in infection has been noted, so thorough treatment and follow-up are needed to ensure a full recovery. Treatment, particularly antibiotic medications, may continue for several months. During this time, monitor the cat closely for signs of further infection, including swelling, itching, redness, fever, or recurrence of lesions. Return visits to the veterinarian for physical examinations and monitoring will be required. Full recovery can be expected in less than four months.
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Actinomycosis Infection Average Cost
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