Tiger’s (hidden) abscesses

Over the last 2-3 weeks, we’ve noticed Tiger hunching quite a bit, but thought nothing about it. His appetite had been good and he seemed happy enough.

“Leave well enough alone and don’t be paranoid” – I thought this would be a good motto to adopt. Trips to the vet are always very stressful for the animal.

This morning Tiger threw a fit and there were blood stains in the floor. Then I saw blood seeping out from a wound on his back. Just one wound.

It looked rather scary.

I quickly cleaned it with hibiscrub and applied povidone iodine on it. Then, I took a photo of the wound and send it to Tiger’s vet (I have been updating him regularly on Tiger’s seizures).

The vet replied soon enough and said it looked bad.  But today was Sunday and not only that, most vets were at a seminar (including Tiger’s vet).

The vet gave me instructions on what to do – use a syringe and flush the wound with diluted povidone iodine.

I did that and sent another photo to the vet. He said it looked better now and I could bring Tiger to him once he got back to his clinic. I also gave Tiger a capsule of Transfer Factor as an immune booster, just to play safe.

Once the vet got back to his clinic, we brought Tiger there and the vet said the wound actually looks worse than expected. He shaved the area and discovered another wound (which I would never have been able to see at all since it was all covered with fur).

The vet flushed the first wound and the liquid came out from the second wound, indicating that there was a fistula (tunnel connecting both wounds) under the skin.

I thought I was going to faint. In fact, I might have fainted too if I hadn’t quickly sat down and lay across the many chairs.

I guess I was in shock as Tiger had shown absolutely no indication of any pain and I did not notice any wounds at all under his fur. I knew he would bite his back during a seizure but that had been happening for more than a year now. I sometimes check his back, and I did too, but I guess I checked the “wrong place” (higher up, which was where I noticed he would bite). These infected wounds were slightly lower down.

The vet said judging from the extent of the wounds and the discolouration of the skin (some dead tissue around it), the wounds had been there for about 2 weeks. That sounded about right, from the time we noticed Tiger hunching.

The hunching. I should have known the hunching wasn’t normal.

Tiger is now on oral antibiotics (Clavomox) and an ointment for the wounds.

Tomorrow, I will need to take him to the vet’s again to gauge if there is any improvement 24 hours after the flushing. If there is indication of healing, I can then do the twice-daily flushing at home. The vet also explained that povidone iodine works better when it is diluted (1:10) with water. When not diluted, it’s in molecular form, but when diluted, it’s in ionic form (more potent). Never use tincture iodine (it contains alcohol and does not work), always use povidone iodine.

The above is only a sharing. If your pet has any similar ailment, please consult a veterinarian for professional advice.

When first discovered this morning.

I put the e-collar on him so that he won’t be able to bite the wound. As you can see, the wound is lower down. I’ve been checking the area at the back of his neck where he is usually spotted biting. That area, there are usually dry scabs and they all looked fine. Little did I know he had wounds at his lower back and it had already been infected for at least 2 weeks. And he showed no signs; his appetite was as usual, he appeared well enough.

Only the hunching. The hunching was the sign and I didn’t think much of it. He wasn’t hunching all the time also. And I was checking the “wrong place” (higher up). Sigh…

The vet did say nobody could have known there were wounds under the skin and all that fur. If not for today’s bleeding, the wounds would have remained undiscovered. Now, that is very scary….

The vet said I should flush it with 1:10 povidone iodine to get the “gunk” out. So, the picture above is after my own flushing at home.

It looks like three wounds, but it’s two major wounds (the middle one isn’t as bad). When the vet flushed out the first wound, liquid came out of the second one. That was really scary.

The tissue around it had already turned necrotic and would (should) drop off.

The vet said the wound is expected to look worse in the next few days because of the dead tissue surrounding it, but that is okay.

For a normal cat, these kind of wounds might take a week to heal, but for Tiger, bring FIV+, it might take 2-4 weeks.

We came home and after the wound was dry, I applied the ointment (Polybamycin). It forms an oily layer on top of the wound to protect it and it also has some antibiotic properties. I thought a tshirt might help, but the vet said the abscess needs ventilation to heal, so I took that off and put him back on the e-collar.

We thought we would give him some time off the e-collar and Tiger went to hide.

Back on the collar.

Another trip to the vet’s tomorrow.

Hopefully, there will be signs of improvement.

We are really grateful the vet opened his clinic to attend to Tiger. Thank you so much, Doctor!

3 comments to Tiger’s (hidden) abscesses

  • Yen Ling

    Ouch! Get well soon, Tiger!

  • Emma

    I had the same experience with Toby last year.He apparently bit his hand during one of his “episodes”. I actually took him to the vet to clean a wound. Even the vet didn’t notice a bigger wound under the fur on his hand. The wound became septic and I had to take him to the clinic every two days for cleaning for almost 2 months. It was a horrible sight but fortunately it healed.

    • chankahyein

      Wow, both Tiger and Toby has hyperesthesia and similar conditions. I did feel really bad for not noticing the abscesses but the vet said nobody would have noticed it too until it bled. This is especially so when Tiger’s fur is very dark grey.