Outdoor cat with a lump/swollen spot on her face

JaySnow

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Hello everyone! Came here for some advice/guidance regarding one of our cats. She's an outdoor cat, only comes to our house to eat. We spayed her back in April since she was getting too old to keep getting pregnant. She must be about 8 years old.

A week ago we noticed a lump on her face, right near the top of her nose. We thought it could be a bug bite or sting so we decided to observe her and see if it went down. It hasn't, but it hasn't grown either.

The lump is squishy and soft, not firm at all. It bothers her a bit if I touch it. She's still eating and drinking, but today I noticed she sniffed and it sounded like her nose was clogged or she had a lot of mucus. Haven't noticed any breathing difficulty.

Right now we don't have the funds for a vet visit, but we will try to do it once we do have them. My country's in a very rough spot and resources are rare and expensive. I just would like some advice or some suggestions on what it could possibly be. Thanks in advance!

I'm attaching some pics of her so you can see how she looks right now. You can see the lump extends a tiny bit towards her right eye, so she squints it a bit.
 

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maggie101

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If it's squishy, not hard,call the vet and ask what you can do about it at home. I suggest taking her in at least temporarily til it heals. It will cost more if it gets infected then she would need antibiotics. If bleeding she needs to see a vet
 
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JaySnow

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If it's squishy, not hard,call the vet and ask what you can do about it at home. I suggest taking her in at least temporarily til it heals. It will cost more if it gets infected then she would need antibiotics. If bleeding she needs to see a vet
I understand! I check the lump every day and watch for any signs of infection, but so far whatever it is seems self contained. I haven't seen pus or other fluids come from the eye or nose. Will definitely ask for vet input.

I'm just looking to see if anyone had any clue on what it could possibly be. It's very strange
 
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JaySnow

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Abscesses in Cats

I am guessing, but this sounds like an abscess to me. They can cause complications, but can often be treated simply at the vet's office. If it is this, it should not be a big expense or procedure.
Thanks for the link! That might be it. I'll check in with my parents to see if we can bring her in for a vet visit. I'll keep the thread updated!
 

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It could also be a cuterebra larvae since it's an outdoor cat. They are the larvae of the botfly and burrow under the skin until they grow to adult size. Usually, there is an airhole that you can plainly see the larvae go in and out. That spot at the bottom of the swelling makes me suspicious. If the spot gets larger, and you can see something in it, take the cat to the vet. You can't remove the larvae by yourself.
 
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JaySnow

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Sorry for not updating! There haven't been any other symptoms or signs besides the swelling. We were told by a vet a long time algo she may have chronic rhinitis. She has always sneezed relatively frequently, since years before the lump. As of recently it has calmed down, it's mostly seasonal.

The larvae theory might be worth looking into, I actually hadn't noticed that spot before! I'll give it a closer look next time she comes around.
 
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JaySnow

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We haven't been able to take her to a vet yet. Gas is really expensive right now and the closest vet is still a bit far away. Most vets offer visiting the house for checkups but again, very expensive.

We're still monitoring her. Her eye tears up a bit because of the swelling but there are no signs of infection at all. She's still eating and drinking water. Swelling hasn't changed size either. I figure if it was a larva it would grow in size eventually?
 

DreamerRose

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Yes. If it's a larva, it will grow in size and the air hole will become more prominent. You would also be able to see something moving inside the hole. If none of this occurs, then it's not a cuterebra.
 
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JaySnow

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Sorry for the late update!

About a week ago we took her to the vet. She agreed that it looked like an abcess brought on by either a bite or a hit to the face. She took a blood test which didn't show anything abnormal, but still prescribed antibiotics and anti-inflamatory medication for a week. We covered about 3 days of the treatment and on day 4 she ran away. We looked for her but she only came back today.

The abcess has gotten worse, now showing more swollen up than before. She's dehydrated and refuses to eat, probably due to discomfort. She has difficulty breathing, too.

Consulted the vet and she told me to restart the treatment from zero. I don't mean to discredit her, but I think right now she needs more aggresive treatment (subcutaneous fluids, probably antibiotic injections since she won't take anything by mouth and I'm not sure if it'll act as fast as she needs. A week of meds without anything to counteract her dehydration and malnourishment doesn't sound right to me.)

And correct me if I'm wrong, but abcesses are meant to be drained, right? When we took her to that vet she applied this ointment that supposedly would make any pus or discharge drain to the surface vía the pores. Didn't get the name, and didn't end up doing anything so now she suggests the cause might actually be a tumor, but I think signs of a tumor could've shown up in the blood tests, right?

Anyway, she's now confined to a room. She has water, dry food and a humidifier to help her breathe better. Even with her condition as is she seems pretty chipper, so I'm praying she can pull through the night so we can take her first thing in the morning to the vet.

What else can I do? What questions should I ask the vet? Any suggestions are appreciated. This has been really stressful...
 

DreamerRose

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Jay, maybe you need a second opinion. You have so many doubts about this vet, it would be worthwhile to check with another.
 
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JaySnow

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Jay, maybe you need a second opinion. You have so many doubts about this vet, it would be worthwhile to check with another.
Thank you! Ended up taking her to a clinic. They took a blood test and found signs of an infection. They weren't able to get any secretion from the abcess so it might not even be caused by a local, subcutaneous infection but something else. They can't diagnose the exact cause yet because she's too weak for an exploratory surgery right now which would help. The vet told me it could be many things, from feline leukemia to a mass caused by a mycobacterium, feline fibrosarcoma...

The test for feline leukemia, which is the one we were recommended to take first to rule it out, is extremely expensive. We plan to ask for it as soon as the infection settles down.

She was prescribed ampicillin and flunixicin meglumine which is a very strong anti-inflamatory med. Vets told me that those + the dextrose and saline solution she's currently taking will help kickstart her appetite again. We're meant to take her again on monday to the vet for a check-up + changing the small canal that's getting those meds into her body.

Prognostic overall depends on how she responds to these meds + what the next tests show. It's really frustrating but I'm trying my best for her. She's comfortable and doesn't seem to be as distressed as before. Really hoping she can pull through :(
 

neely

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The second vet sounds much more concerned, maybe competent even.
I completely agree! :agree:

I'm glad you were able to take her to another clinic and they were proactive in treating her. You have gone above and beyond caring for her so I hope she pulls through. Please keep us posted on her progress. Fingers crossed she shows some signs of improvement. :crossfingers:
 
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JaySnow

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Thank you all so much for the kind words, it means a lot.

She has responded really well to the meds, no side effects as of now, and has started eating again, little by little. She's peeing a lot but so far no bowel movements, which I assume is normal since she's eating so little and infrequently. I'll ask the vet about it tomorrow when we take her for a follow-up.

She isn't in any visible pain, and her breathing is a bit better right now. Swelling under her eye has gone down a bit as well, so I'm hoping these are the antibiotics kicking in. Sometimes she's restless because being an outdoor cat she's not used to being confined to a room, but besides that she seems mostly calm.

I'll update again later on if anything happens, but I'm feeling cautiously optimistic now!
 
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