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Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 16537
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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He's not eating and barely drinking just sleeps and sleeps.

Customer Question

He's not eating and barely drinking just sleeps and sleeps. He links his back leg and when I try to feel it he lays down on it
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the cat. What is the cat's name and age?
Customer: Simba, and he is a rescue kitten. He's about 4 months
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Simba,?
Customer: He was at my cousin's house with her 2 cats for 3 weeks while I left town, I hope he didn't contract any illness
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 7 months ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Okay, thank you.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I can't really afford to pay any more. I'm doing my best for my kitten
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 7 months ago.

I am sorry to hear Simba is lethargic, not eating and drinking well, licking his leg and trying to hide it from you when you try to look at it.

It sounds like he may have an abscess on that leg from an accidental bite or scratch when playing with your cousin's kitties.

Generally these occur secondary to a bite or scratch wound that injects bacteria deep into tissue. The original wound may be so small we never notice it and heals quickly. Meanwhile the bacteria deep in the tissue proliferate and lead to discomfort and inflammation, thus his licking, and eventually the tissue in the area starts to die from the inflammation, pressure and bacteria. When that happens the hair over the area may fall out and an open draining wound can develop. The entire process usually takes about a week to ten days. They seem to blow up overnight once the infection gets established.

Treatment is based upon draining the abscess fully, removing the dead, infected tissue, and starting an oral antibiotic to get rid of the infection.

Since he's not eating and drinking normally and seems very uncomfortable this does warrant a visit to his veterinarian as soon as possible.

In the meantime, if he will let you, you can warm compress the area he is licking with a clean cloth moistened with very warm/hot water for 10 minutes at a time several times a day. This will hopefully cause the abscess to drain which would be best for him.

If the abscess opens up and he will let you flush the wound with a mix of betadine solution (also called povidine iodine solution and available at the pharmacy over the counter) and warm water (mixed in a syringe so it looks like weak tea), a couple times a day for a week to10 days to keep it open and draining. It may heal from the inside out with cleaning and flushing if he lets you do a thorough cleaning and flushing. Do not let it close prematurely or the abscess will reform.

In most cases though topical treatment doesn't work and they must be seen by a veterinarian and get oral antibiotics prescribed.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I meant to say his back leg limps. Not licks . He was fine until last night.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 7 months ago.

Thanks, ***** ***** it even more likely this is an abscess. The swelling, inflammation and tissue disruption will often lead to a sudden limp on the affected leg. He may lick the area too, although it is often too painful to do so until the abscess ruptures, then they almost always will lick.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 7 months ago.

Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your kitty. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****