'Cat-astrophe' for dog after cat bite causes 10inch abscess
Leading vet charity PDSA has warned pet owners of the dangers cat bites can pose to pets and people after its vets and nurses spent three months nursing a dog back to health after a run-in with a neighbourhood cat.
Crossbreed Cassie from Stoke-on-Trent was treated by the dedicated vets and nurses at PDSA’s Pet Aid hospital in Club Street, London Road, after she was bitten by a cat she encountered in her back yard.
Owner Kirstie Travis, of Bentilee, initially thought it had been a minor scuffle and her 10-year-old pooch didn’t appear to be injured. But a few days later, Kirstie (30), noticed a large abscess on her dog’s chest that had burst, leaving a gaping hole measuring a staggering 8-10 inches long by 4 inches wide.
The shocked mother-of-two rushed Cassie to PDSA where vets explained that the wound was caused by a cat bite that had become infected. And due to the location of the injury, they also warned it could take months for Cassie’s skin to heal.
Duncan Senior, Senior Veterinary Surgeon at PDSA Stoke PetAid hospital, said: “It took two operations and hours of intensive nursing care to return Cassie to health. Due to the intensive wound management, treatment costs could have run into many hundreds if not thousands of pounds."
Duncan added: “The wound on Cassie’s chest was in between her two front legs and from our perspective, it could not have been in a worse place.
"As any vet will tell you, that area of the body is a challenge. The movement between a dog’s front legs puts a strain on the healing process, which means that making sure the pet’s skin heals can take a very long time and involve a lot of vet and nursing care.
“We performed two operations which partially closed the wound to speed up recovery. Despite this the wound still took 3 months to heal, although it could easily have been much longer. Credit also has to go to Mrs Travis for the time and commitment she put into caring for Cassie.”
Duncan said many people are not aware of the dangers that can be caused by cat bites, which can lead to serious complications if left untreated.
He added: “Cats naturally harbour lots of bacteria in their mouths and their small teeth almost inject the bacteria deeply into the skin. That means the bacteria quickly reproduce breed and can lead to a very severe infection. I have known colleagues almost losing their fingers from cat bite wounds and one even had to undergo major surgery to remove a cat bite abscess from her brain.
“People need to take it very seriously and always seek medical or veterinary advice if they or their pet are bitten by cat.”
Kirstie said that following the ‘excellent’ care given by staff at the Stoke PetAid hospital, Cassie had now made a full recovery: “I never realised how serious a cat bite could be but I won’t be making that mistake again. I’m so grateful that PDSA were able to help me and Cassie, as it must have cost PDSA hundreds or thousands of pounds – without them I just don’t know what I would have done.
“Thankfully Cassie is back to her normal self now and she just has a small scar where the wound was. I don’t leave her in the garden on her own now, I always go with her. The vets and nurses at PDSA were brilliant and I can’t thank them enough.”
Research from PDSA’s landmark PAW report* reveals that 1.3 million UK cats show aggression to other pets on a weekly basis.
It's well known that cats and dogs that don’t know each other often don’t get along. Cats can be very territorial and Cassie was probably just in the wrong place at the wrong time when the neighbourhood cat decided to strike.
Stoke PDSA PetAid hospital provides free veterinary treatment to the sick and injured pets of local people in need. For more information on PDSA or to enquire about eligibility please visit www.pdsa.org.uk or call 0800 731 2502