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The Premier Online Magazine
devoted to Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cats

Search
Close this search box.

PandEcats

The Premier Online Magazine devoted
to Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cats

Search
Close this search box.

Mastitis: Medical Case History #2

In the article titled Mastitis In The Female Cat we discussed the symptoms and treatment of mastitis in general. The article titled Mastitis: Medical Case History # 1 looked at the specific treatment of a nursing Exotic Shorthair who developed mastitis a week after giving birth. This article reviews the medical case history of an Abyssinian queen named Aisha who developed mastitis when her kittens were 13 days old.

Symptoms

In this case, the female cat was eating and nursing happily, then overnight appeared so weak she could barely stand or raise her head. Her temperature was 105 degrees Fahrenheit. When placed on her back, a close examination of her mammary glands revealed no obvious swelling, however, there was a bluish tinge to the skin around a back nipple.An examination of her tummy revealed that the back left nipple seemed to be turning blue and was very slightly swollen compared to the other nipples.

The nipple (top, center) appeared blue/black in color.
When palpated, the nipple crackled.

The back nipple also felt different when palpated lightly with fingers. It had a sort of bubbly, crackling feeling and a gurgling sound in the area. This is called “crepitus”.

The hair was shaved to view the area better. It was obvious that the skin all around the mammary and back to between the hind legs was turning blue — a sign the tissue may be dying. In addition, there was a discharge coming from the nipple.

The area around the teat was shaved.
You can clearly see the difference between the healthy nipple on the left and the infected nipple on the right which has a discharge.

Initial Treatment

Aisha was immediately taken to the veterinarian where mastitis was diagnosed. She was given:

  • Orbax: an antibiotic similar to Baytril.
  • Convenia: an antibiotic for the treatment of skin infection that provides a course of treatment in a single injection.
  • Metacam: for pain relief

The owner took her home along with her medications, however, within three hours, the skin around the mammary and the adjacent skin continued to darken so drastically that it was clear that the tissue was dying (necrotic) and was becoming very toxic. In addition, her temperature continued to increase despite the antibiotics she was receiving. The situation became critical.

Surgery

Rushed back to the veterinarian, Aisha was immediately taken in for emergency surgery to remove the back two mammaries on her left side. A drain was inserted to allow for flushing and drainage of pus. She was started on the antibiotic Baytril, with medication continued for a full 10 days.

Surgical incision with drain inserted.

The Next Day

After a groggy night spent sleeping deeply, Aisha woke up, used the litter box and began eating. Her temperature was now down to almost normal. She continued to improve over the next 10 days and recovered completely.

Recovering from her surgery.
A month after surgery, the incision is well healed and Aisha is fully recovered.

Overview

This case of mastitis was atypical in that there was little appreciable swelling of the mammary gland. It was also unusual in the speed with which the bacteria overwhelmed the tissue. It seemed that a particularly nasty bacteria was producing toxins that caused the tissue involved to start to die quickly. In this type of case, quick medical treatment can mean the difference between life and death. The fact that Aisha’s owner not only discovered the mastitis early and rushed her cat to the vet, but also returned to the vet so quickly when things seemed to be getting worse, may have saved her cat’s life.

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ABOUT THE IMAGE AT THE TOP OF THIS PAGE

With their interest in playing with their owners, combined with their curious intelligence, Abyssinians are known as the “Clowns of the Cat Kingdom”.

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