4
Sep
2019

Jess’s remarkable recovery from a flesh-eating bacteria!

Black and white cat

Jess is a 2-year-old cat who was seen at the practice in May after her owner noticed a sore swelling on her back. This swelling turned out to be an abscess. As the abscess was so big, Jess was sedated so we could lance and flush it and antibiotics and pain relief were started.

Abscesses are very common in cats and normally resolve with the above treatment. Unfortunately, in Jess’s case the bacteria causing the infection was resistant to the first course of antibiotics used and the infection spread through the fat layer under her skin. Over the next few days she became more unwell, she developed significant swelling of her back legs and an area of skin on her tummy started to die off.

Jess was sedated again, and this time we took samples of the affected skin to identify the bacteria causing the infection and find out what antibiotic it would be killed by. Once we had all the results from the tests back, the antibiotics were changed to one the bacteria was sensitive to and Jess started to improve considerably. Unfortunately, by this time, the damage to the skin on her tummy had already been done and as the skin died off, a very large open wound was left.

Stitching the two sides of the wound together at this point was impossible as the damaged tissue was not healthy enough to allowing the healing process to start.

Jess was anaesthetised to surgically remove the obviously dead tissue and we then started carrying out daily dressing changes to slowly pull away further dead tissue until we had clean, healthy tissue left.

Jess was brilliantly behaved and allowed us to do most of her daily dressing changes without any sedation. Soon her wound started filling in with granulation tissue – a fibrous in-filling containing lots of blood vessels but no nerves so it does not hurt at this stage. Her skin began growing back across the gap.

In order to encourage the normal healing process, we used honey and later a specialist wound gel to stop further infection and prevent the wound drying out and to give a scaffold for new skin cells to move across and stick to.

Unbelievably, after only two weeks of regular dressing changes, her wound had healed enough to be able to surgically bring the edges together and close it fully.

Jess is now back home slowly stretching out her scar tissue and has started going back outside again. Jess stayed with us during the daily dressing changes and quickly became a very firm favourite with all the staff. We’re really glad she’s back to her previous mischievous ways but hope she doesn’t get herself into any more scrapes!

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