How to treat moderate injuries from a wild animal

iluvcats3

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This animal is a raccoon, not a cat, but I don't know where else to ask and there are many knowledgeable people here and I know that kitties get abscesses a lot (my former feral had one). It's really a first aid question that probably applies to any animal. So I hope it is ok that I post here - I really don't know where else to ask.  I have some baby raccoons that were abandoned (OK someone shot their mama we are pretty sure, we heard a nearby gunshot, and we waited 2 days to take in the babies) and they are almost ready for release to the wild (oh, they are 12 pounds or so) and in fact, they are outdoors all day long since they are close to permanent release. I take them into an outbuilding at night, which is when most of the predators are out.  Night before last, they wouldn't come in until late and one of them was attacked by something, we think an owl, based on the fact we could not hear the predator leave (it was in a swamp so there would be splashing sounds) when we ran to save the baby who was screaming. The pattern of injuries are consistent with talons. Possums are a major prey animal for this sort of owl, so we think the baby raccoon was well in that size range. But we don't know for sure.  

Anyway, the swellings happened the next morning after the attack. There is a 4" long by 1" swollen spot down one side, and a small marble size on one shoulder, and a tiny lump on the chest, but today which is 1 1/2 days later, the chest lump is now also a shooter marble sized swelling, *shallow* under the skin, and I suspect that must be an abscess, but not sure.  The baby is a little stiff and sore but otherwise very happy, wrestling with his buddies, and no depression due to systemic illness, and his injuries do not appear to hurt very much (he doesn't flinch or bite when we examine him). I can't legally take the baby to the vet (the vet would lose their license if they helped me and it was found out, not that I would ever rat on someone) because I am not a licensed rehabber, although I have done everything with these animals that a licensed rehabber would do. I don't know if I need to lance this swelling or what. I could buy antibiotics from a farm store or get fish antibiotics - I'm an overeducated nerd and would not make mistakes calculating and measuring dosages, but I am not a vet tech or nurse or anything like that. I think I used amoxicillin on my feral (maybe it was clavamox) when she had a tooth abscess. I could maybe lie to my vet and say I am treating the feral kitty, but she behaved pretty good when I brought her in for her bad tooth and so the vet will probably just say bring the kitty in and then what do I say? I'm hoping a vet tech or experienced feral cat person or someone who lives on a farm etc will have some practical first aid advice for me! Thank you so much for any advice!! He is a very sweet baby, they all are, and yes I know nature is cruel but someone shot his mama. It wasn't nature that made him an orphan.

I am not sure this is an abscess! It doesn't appear to hurt him much or at all, but I thought that may be because it is on his chest and so the swelling isn't pressing on any nerves. It is round the size of a large marble and just under the skin.

General comments: Just in case (I have occasionally seen this sort of lecturing on rehabber sites and don't know if I will get it here)  I don't need lectures about giving the animals over to a licensed rehabber - I would have done that, but there are not anywhere near enough rehabbers in my state, and most baby raccoons are put down because there are too many of them, I've read many places including on a major animal humane society for my state. They would have probably been killed, or some other babies would have been killed instead, later in the season. I'm rural and have a terrific property for release and I have no intention of making them pets. I have wormed them regularly, and rabies is not an issue in my state, in raccoons. If it was, I would drive to another state and buy the vaccine over the counter (it can be purchased that way some places), but it appears unnecessary where I live.  I plan to vaccinate them and booster them for canine distemper and parvo, which is not much of an issue in the summer, once the maternal antibodies are gone for sure in a week or two. (well maybe parvo is an issue, but canine distemper dies rapidly in hot weather).  These babies would have been dead had I left them in the woods. They were still on milk only and left their tree hollow and cried for help for 2 days before I intervened. They could barely walk. I don't know about you, but I can't sit and listen to dying baby animals and do nothing. I would do rehab and get the license, but it is a LOT of work and I can't deal with that every year and I don't want to deal with dying crippled animals being brought to me endlessly and all the heartache that entails. 
 
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jolie0216

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Wow - so impressive that you've been able to take care of these babies so far!   I don't have the knowledge/experience to be of any help to you, but I just wanted to say what a very great and kind thing you've done for them by giving them a chance to live their lives!    I also would be hesitant to bring another person into the loop here, because most likely the raccoons would be euthanized versus taken care of.   I know a regular vet can't help, but is there some kind of wildlife center where you could take this baby to get looked at?  Or would they make you surrender him if you brought him in?   I just don't know anything about it or what their process would be if you called up and said you had a hurt baby raccoon...........I hope you are able to get help or find the info you are looking for - it sounds like you already are very educated about it 
   I know what you mean about hearing them crying out for help - I don't see how someone could not respond to them & try to do what they could to help.   I'm a big softy too 
   I really hope you are able to find an answer here or somewhere - good luck and thank you for trying!!
 
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iluvcats3

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Thank you so much for the moral support!!!  They would make me surrender the baby, and if the rehabber is a jerk, which some are, they could turn me into the state fish and wildlife people, although I doubt I would be charged because clearly the babies are intended to go back into the wild, and not for pets. We have avoided socialization to humans other than me and my spouse. I just know that I have read on rehab websites that yes it's true, there can be way too many raccoon babies and then the extras are all put down, healthy or not. If it wasn't true, I doubt a very large professionally run humane society would tell people this information right on their website. I suspect 90% of baby animals are rehabbed by the people who found them - lots of people in my rural area do it, and if it can be believed, at least some state wildlife enforcement tell them ways to get around the rules (like I heard one game warden told a local guy, just don't cage the animal, it's only illegal if you have it in a cage, so one guy is somehow encouraging an orphaned deer to stay nearby, in the yard, and bottle fed it when it was little, but I dunno how he keeps it safe from coyotes).  I have seen on North Woods law or some show like that, it's some reality show about game wardens, yes baby animals are put down all the time due to lack of rehabbers, and game wardens hate to do it because they are lovable baby animals.
 
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jolie0216

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Maybe you could talk to your vet about it - say it happened to your feral cat or possibly even a different feral cat and that it would just be too difficult or traumatic to bring the cat in - after describing the injury over the phone, maybe they would let you come by and pick up some antibiotics for the injury?  Or at least set you on the right course as far as what first-aid steps you could do for the cat (really raccoon!)   I'd probably go that route to get some help for this baby - hopefully the vet will give you some help!

my vet has helped me like that over the phone with a couple injured street cats - I text him a picture of the injury and he told me what to do for the cat.  Maybe if you took a pic of just the injury itself, you wouldn't be able to tell it wasn't actually a cat?
 
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iluvcats3

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I tried that with 2 vets, since I do actually have a feral cat who is difficult, and they said it was illegal to give me antibiotics if they have not seen the cat. It has been just over one year since my feral kitty was in at the vets. Maybe it was 2 years - she had a dental abscess and needed a tooth pulled. My regular vet office knows me really well since I had a kitty with a long term illness who was put down recently. :-(  I am looking into fish antibiotics, but I cannot get them locally and it will be days before I can get them thru the mail since it is a weekend. I have leftover metronidazole because my kitty who died (that's her, the black kitty, in my pic) had inflammatory bowel disease and it also works for IBD, but it looks like that antibiotic is ineffective for abscesses.  I need penicillin family antibiotics, I learned from my call to the vet.  Now I am less sure it is an abscess because another baby has a single perfectly round swelling on him and wondering if these are stings but it was at night and why did the swellings come later?  The baby that was hurt is sufficiently injured I should have done all this research yesterday and ordered the fish antibiotics. I didn't realize there is a smaller selection for farm animals nowadays. There used to be lots of choices at a farm store. Now it's tetracycline, pretty much, and that's not real effective for abscess from what I can tell googling.
 

jolie0216

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Aww I'm sorry - I can see you're really trying to help this guy!!   If you're in Ohio, I have some leftover Clavamox drops from a few months ago that you could have (dont know if it is OK to offer this, so sorry if I am breaking a forum rule!!)
 
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iluvcats3

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No, not in Ohio, and thank you for the offer!!  I even took amoxicillin recently myself for an after surgery antibiotic, but I took all my pills like I was supposed to so no leftovers. 
 

chipmunk-kim

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Perhaps, if you're willing to, you could use an animal clipper and at least shave the fur from around the injuries to get a better look. Have you used any kind of antibiotic ointment? It might help. Even using something homeopathic at this point is more helpful than nothing, as long as it's not harmful stuff.
 
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iluvcats3

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I didn't get a chance to update the thread - The baby is doing better now! I bathed him repeatedly to soak the injured area (wiggly baby!!!!! Almost as difficult as bathing a cat!) and the swelling is down and he is bouncing around attacking his siblings just like new!  It was a super scare! I still have no real idea what he was attacked BY - we thought an owl but now my spouse thinks multiple bee stings.  Well that doesn't explain the long injury down his side that was weeping and why there was a new bump the next day - the swelling should have happened quicker than it did if he had gotten into a wasp nest. So it's a mystery but I guess it doesn't matter because he is mostly recovered now! I wouldnt have given him antibiotics unless I was sure it was an infection, but you know how those can blow up quick and I didn't have any on hand. Thanks for all the help and moral support - it is very stressful dealing with a hurt animal that can't tell you what's wrong and can't get medical care :-(  The law is wrong imo, just like when government puts in laws against feeding feral cats and forces loving, ethical people to law break because they want to take care of them.
 
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