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Dr. Lisa
Dr. Lisa, DVM (Veterinarian)
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 511
Experience:  Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Integrative Medicine (Western and Homeopathic)
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My cat has a Swollen paw after surgery

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My cat just had surgery for a ruptured abcess (this afternoon @'s now 3am). The vet sent us home with antibiotics and said come back on Mon. to have the dressing changed. He has a bandage from the bottom of his shoulder to the tip of his paw. The problem is, he won't rest..sit down, lay down, etc. He keeps meowing and walking all over the house. My daughter and I have tried everything, even holding him in our lap & petting him, laying with him on the floor, locking him in the bedroom with us...keeping him in the bed with us, nothing works. I think all the walking on his leg has caused swelling. His paw looks very swollen! We cut he bandage alittle at the top & bottom but the paw is still quite swollen. What else can we do?!?


I share your concern for your cat. If the paw is swollen, then the bandage is too tight and needs to be removed. It's ok to take it off. Do you have an e-collar for your cat? That way, he can't lick or chew at the surgery site. You can also remove and rebandage the leg more loosely. You probably have what is known as "vet wrap" on the outside of the paw -- it can be reused. Unwrap the leg, don't cut the bandage. Put the bandage back on loosely. The swelling will go down on its own after that.

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you need more information.

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Lisa Boyer's Post: But if I take off the bandage won't the cut get infected? What if he has stitches...I think he does because the vet said he cleaned all the edges of the wound an cut away the infected/dead skin, then pulled the wound together. The cat will lay on the cut and get it dirty, or open it up walkin on it...won't he. What will happen if I don't take the dressing off? I'm afraid to!


OK -- please don't worry. The stitches in the leg will hold things together just fine. The bandage is just an extra precaution. Your cat is on antibiotics so there is little increased risk of infection. You are risking a much more serious problem by leaving it on. The cat should be staying indoors and that will keep the wound clean enough. Please take off the bandage. It's the right thing to do. You can always re-wrap the bandage more loosely. If you don't remove it, your cat's circulation will be cut off and you will have more serious problems.

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Lisa Boyer's Post: OK, we're going to try taking it off. Say a prayer. What if there are no stitches? Well, I guess we'll find out. Of course NOW he's sleeping! LOL Here goes nothing! Wish us luck.

It will be fine -- trust me, I'm a doctor!

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Lisa Boyer's Post: OK, We got the outer wrap off. It was that stretchey gauze type stuff that sticks to itself (like athletic tape). There is a white gauze wrapped around the leg to. It seems stuck to his leg and the cut has oozed through. Should we leave that white gauze on? Or do you think that is too tight to?!?? Thank you!!!!!!!!


The white gauze should not be too tight, but to be sure, I would unwrap it too. You should remove the entire bandage. It's truly not a problem. Just be gentle when you remove anything that is "stuck" to the skin to avoid hurting your kitty.

Please let me know how it is going.

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Lisa Boyer's Post: OK, his foot looks a little swollen. I don't think we can get anymore of the white gauze off. There is also white tape under the gauze in the area of the wound. I don't think it's to tight. We re-wrapped the leg with more stretch wrap and left the white tape (with gauze loosely around his leg). I hope it's ok now,do you think so? We will keep a close eye on the paw. Thank you so very much for all your was a VERY long night. Thank you again, <3 Gizmo's family ;)


It sounds like you did a good job. Sometimes, when the outermost layer is stretchy like the bandage you had on, it can get too tight, causing the foot to swell. When not corrected, it can lead to decreased blood flow to the foot. You did JUST FINE! I'm glad all is ok today. GOOD JOB!!!!

I hope Gizmo is better soon.

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