Abscesses in Cats and Dogs

Abscesses in Cats and Dogs


An abscess is a pocket of infection that often results from puncture wounds such as scratches or bites, but may develop after penetration by such things as grass seeds.  The surface of the skin often heals quickly, but germs deposited under the surface by the penetrating object may cause an abscess to form in 2-3 days.

Signs of an abscess

  • Red and swollen area,
  • Very painful and often warm when touched.
  • Animals with abscesses will often have a high temperature or fever, and may be quiet or depressed.


Small abscesses may only require a clean up and antibiotic treatment. Larger abscesses may need surgery to remove areas of dead skin, or to achieve sufficient drainage to stop the build-up of more pus. A drain may be placed in the wound to allow this fluid to discharge.


The earlier treatment is initiated the less likely surgery is required, so if you suspect your cat has a bite or abscess please make an appointment as soon as possible.


Cat bites and Feline AIDS virus

Most cats will develop an abscess as a result of a bite from another cat.  This puts your cat at risk of the Feline AIDS virus, which is present in the Nelson area.

Feline AIDs is spread by fighting cats, and can be an issue in rural areas and suburban areas.  There are certain hot spots for this disease around the Nelson/Tasman area.

If your cat fights, even occasionally, it is strongly advised that you get your pet tested for Feline AIDS, and if negative, start a vaccination program.


If you require further information, please contact our staff.


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