Recurring Abscess Keeps Coming Back

talkingtoclouds

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Some backstory for context: My 12-year-old cat Lulu has a recurring abscess under/next to her tail that keeps coming back despite repeated treatment. Last November around Thanksgiving she started acting very strange and lethargic and would growl and scratch me whenever I picked her up. I took her to the vet, he took X-rays and thought she had back pain/joint issues, and recommended putting her on pain meds. I was scheduled for surgery the next day and couldn't treat her because I would have limited mobility to chase her down and administer pain pills. The vet's office ending up boarding her while I was recovering. Five days later I get her back from the vet and she has this HUGE gaping hole near her rear end. I panicked and took her back to the same vet, and he was like "Whoops," and said that was probably her problem all along. He cleaned out the wound and gave her an antibiotic shot and we went on our way. Safe to say, I was pretty angry that this went unnoticed.

Fast forward a month later to December, Lulu's abscess had already healed and the fur was growing back (or so I thought), and then randomly one day it burst again. I rushed her to the emergency vet after hours and it was the same shpeal. Clean the wound, give her the antibiotic shot, and send us on our way. I thought surely this would be the end of it.

I was mistaken because on Monday Lulu started showing the same signs of lethargy and acting out of sorts as the first time this happened. There was no open wound yet, but by this time I was an expert at reading the signs. I wasn't about to take her back to the original vet's office who misdiagnosed her, and so drove a little further out of town to another vet we used to see when we lived there. This one specializes in cats. He wasn't extremely sympathetic to her problem, but he did recommend giving her anesthesia, lancing the abscess/cleaning it out, and trying an oral antibiotic instead of the shot. We did all that, he didn't seem to think it was an anal gland issue or anything, but told me to keep an eye on it. Now it's just another waiting game to see if this happens again.

I'm terrified that this is going to be a recurring issue with her. I've already spent hundreds of dollars trying to get to the bottom of this, but none of the vets we've been to seem to understand how much physical pain this causes her (or how much financial pain this causes me). Sorry for the long-winded post, but I'm desperate to try and find some answers.
 

Kieka

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Oh my, poor baby. I know how bad abscess treatment can be. My childhood cat seemed to get them very frequently so I have seen a low. The one thing I learned is if it is bigger then probably about a dime it needs a surgical cleaning, drain and antibiotics. Otherwise it is just going to keep coming back because all the bacteria isn't cleaned out and killed off. It's just not worth it, to me, to try to clean it and treat it without really good wound flushing. I am very upset at your first vet for not treating it more aggressive from the beginning with how it was affecting her. I am hopeful that the current treatment will be more successful and finally take care of it.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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My immediately thought was "anal gland issue" until you said the 2nd Vet didn't seem to think it was. So what did he think it WAS? Did he mentioned what @Keika said...that it simply was never cleaned out properly in the first place?

Did he give you any instructions and ointment, etc to do at home? sometimes with an abscess a warm compress will help draw out any further infection that might be lingering, even after it's cleaned out. Plus applying a topical prescription antibiotic can help, even though it won't stay on there very long...only as long as you can keep her from licking it off.
 

blumarine916

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I know this is an old thread but just wondering if there were there any solutions found for a recurring abscess.

My cat has had abscess on the same spot twice now about 3 months apart from the first incident in August 2018. 2nd time happened in November on the exact same spots which were stitched up by the vet. The vet didn’t know how it could happen.

Lately, I keep noticing my cat if she starts licking her rear where the abscesses were. Maybe I’m too worried but I’m just afraid I’ll have to take her to the vet again for the same thing. I checked her. She’s not in pain or anything. Very normal actually.

She’s 100% indoors with another cat.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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blumarine916 blumarine916 , since you haen't gotten a response, I would have to wonder if perhaps the original abscess wasn't thoroughly cleaned out and/or didn't heal completely for it to reappear again. Or was it a ruptured anal gland? The location that you kind of refer to could be an anal glad issue, which may or may not actually be an abscess. Did you take her back in to the Vet? What did they say?
 

blumarine916

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blumarine916 blumarine916 , since you haen't gotten a response, I would have to wonder if perhaps the original abscess wasn't thoroughly cleaned out and/or didn't heal completely for it to reappear again. Or was it a ruptured anal gland? The location that you kind of refer to could be an anal glad issue, which may or may not actually be an abscess. Did you take her back in to the Vet? What did they say?
The vet who treated the first time cleaned it out and stitched up the wound. Then when it happened the 2nd time, he did the same thing. I only found out that abscesses should not be stitched up when I joined here. Looks like the treatment was wrong from the beginning :(

I went to another vet during the 2nd time. This vet checked her wound and although he suspected it may be anal gland issue, he didn’t probe further since my cat was still healing at that time.

So you’re saying the recurrance could be due to the sites were not cleaned properly?
 

mrsgreenjeens

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Actually, what I'm (trying to) say is that if it's actually an anal gland issue rather than an abscess, those issue can reoccur at any time, and reasons are unknown. Some cats simply have anal gland issues and need help expressing the glands. Not sure if that's the issue here or not. If your cat has begun licking that area again, it could be she needs her glands expressed. OR it could be that the original abscess never healed. How long ago did these happen, and how far apart?
 

blumarine916

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The first time it happened was in August 2018. I only noticed when she wouldn’t let me pick her up as usual. By the time I got to the vet, he discovered a hole next to her anus. Cleaned and stitched her up. Next day, found a 2nd hole about half an inch below the first one. Stitched that one too. All healed in about 2 weeks.

Then November 2018, I can’t pick her up again and she licked the area constantly. Vet found the same hole on the same spot opened. Stitched. Vet says he doesn’t know why and didn’t say anything about anal glands. After that I noticed a little bump growing below the stitches. The bump ruptured 3 days later so I just let that heal on its own because I was already not happy with the vet. Stitches healed in 2 weeks but the bump never really healed even after a month. It’s not bleeding but just there. Fur grew back.

Now she looks uncomfortable again but not in pain since she doesn’t mind being picked up. I’m just worried.

Edit: My cat is 8 this year. Does anal gland issue just happen all of a sudden?
 

mrsgreenjeens

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Yes, anal gland issues can just happen all of a sudden. I also noticed on your other thread that you said that area is "damp with something stinky". the stuff inside the anal glands is very stinky, so if yo are getting a whiff of it, and she is looking uncomfortable, I would take her in to the 2nd Vet and have them check her out. Hopefully it's nothing, but better safe than sorry. If they only need to express her glands, she shouldn't need any antibiotics :wink:
 

blumarine916

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Alright. I will take her there for a look. Yes, I hope no antibiotics too since it’s so hard for me to give her medicine. Thanks for your advice.
 

blumarine916

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Hello and I think the abscess is back again for the 4th time! This is so frustrating. So my track record is below:
1st incident - August 2018. Cleaned, stitched and sent home with antibiotics
2nd incident - November 2018, same procedure.
3rd incident - August 2019, sent to different vet this time who also cleaned, stitched her up but left a gap for draining and antibiotics (which wasn’t administered fully because she was just too difficult to pill. Stressful on both me and my cat)

She’s beginning to show signs again. I can tell from the constant butt licking and how I can’t pick her up today. She was okay just a few days ago.

Why does this keep happening? I’m already dealing with my other cat having ringworm right now so I’m really, really stressed out as it is. Any advice is appreciated.
 

Kieka

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Where is the abscess located? Typically abscesses should be left open to drain, I have had my share of them with my cats over the years and never has my vet stitched them closed. Air is the enemy of bacteria so leaving it open kills more bacteria while closing it allows the bacteria to survive and come back. Plus, if you didn't finish the last course of antibiotics that could be the reason it came back this time.

I could see stitching it if it is in a place that is more likely to get more bacteria being left open. Have you been told to clean and encourage draining daily during the antibiotic treatment period? Has it been the same antibiotics each time? Did she wear a cone? From November 18 to August 19 is probably a different injury causing it because that would be a long time for bacteria to fester without becoming septic.

Edit, just saw it is near anal gland. It's probably a reoccurring anal gland issue and you should talk to the vet on how to prevent them. The timing doesnt support an injury related abscess that is coming back.
 
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blumarine916

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The abscess is always on the same spot, just next to her anus. I have asked the vet to check if it was anal gland the previous times and it wasn’t.

Yes, same antibiotics each time. She’s 100% indoors and I have another cat too. It’s not an injury because they don’t fight. This part puzzled the vet as well.
 

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My indoor cat just got her second abscess around her anal area. The vet said it was indeed a clogged anal gland duct. Ways to prevent this from happening are to wipe around the area with a wipe once a day to keep it clean and to add more fiber into their diet such as canned pumpkin or a teaspoon of Metamucil mixed with a treat or wet food.
 

blumarine916

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My indoor cat just got her second abscess around her anal area. The vet said it was indeed a clogged anal gland duct. Ways to prevent this from happening are to wipe around the area with a wipe once a day to keep it clean and to add more fiber into their diet such as canned pumpkin or a teaspoon of Metamucil mixed with a treat or wet food.
About 2 months ago I saw my cat excessively licking that old spot again. Now she was checked by 2 different vets on previous incidents, both said it was NOT her anal glands at all. So this time, I didn’t take her to the vet. Yes she was uncomfortable, grumpy, a little warm and licking there a lot. I still had a few Baytril left from her previous visit so I gave those to her for 3 days and just let her lick herself. After about a week, she stopped. I suppose she took care of if because she was back to normal after that. I even tried picking her up and she didn’t complain either.

So she’s okay now. I have learned not to panic over little things and let animals so their own thing.
 
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