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Internal Infections In Cats

Internal Infections In Cats

by Elisa Black-Taylor

Sealy has an internal infection

I wanted to write about internal infections in cats to inform everyone of a potentially deadly mistake we almost made with our cat Sealy.

Sealy has been the topic of many of my articles lately. Mainly because we've never dealt with such a serious external injury on a cat before. I hope my telling Sealy's story will help others care for a critically injured cat.

Sealy had been scratching some at his external injury at the beginning of last week so we put him on a low dose (5mg.) of prednisone. This is a common drug and a common dosage for his symptoms.

Within thirty six hours Sealy was throwing up a small amount of clear liquid. This would only happen a couple of times a day. Even after eating, he would only vomit clear stuff. Keep in mind Sealy was still eating, drinking and very alert. He still peed and pooped normally and showed no signs of illness other than the occasional vomiting. His head injury showed no signs of infection at all.

I had planned to take Sealy in to the vet on Saturday for a check up to be sure he was healing well. I made the appointment on Friday afternoon for 8 a.m. Saturday morning. He was the first case the vet saw. On the sign in sheet I listed vomiting as the reason for the visit.

The first thing the vet assistant did was to take Sealy's temperature and get a stool sample. Sealy had a 104F. temperature. So he was sick.

The vet came in and took one look at his head injury and quickly peeled off the dead tissue on it. This is something I hadn't done because I don't have any experience on what should remain on the wound and what should be gotten rid of for the injury to heal.

After examining the injury and finding no signs of infection there, my vet examined the inside of what was left of Sealy's left ear. He pulled out a wad that was a combination of ear mites and pus. When he said the word pus, my daughter Laura decided it was time to go throw up. Sorry Laura.

The vet explained the ear mites were causing Sealy to want to scratch and he administered medicine to kill the ear mites. The internal infection was a surprise to us. We thought we were being good cat mommies because we've been very diligent about keeping his head and his living conditions as sterile as possible.

The very small amount of clear fluid Sealy was spitting up only a couple of times a day didn't seem unusual considering he'd lost a good portion of his head to a fan blade. And if we'd determined the need for a vet visit based on peeing, pooping, eating and drinking, he never would have seen the vet. Sealy eats a pouch of cat food around every six hours and has an exceptionally good appetite.

Sealy had been off the Baytril for almost two weeks since no sign of infection was present on the wound. He took the entire round of it and that was that.

Internal infections in cats are very dangerous because if they get too bad or get in the blood stream, the cat can die. This could easily have happened to Sealy.

Our game plan now is to finish the new round of Baytril and then take him back in to have the inner ear examined again. We also plan to have his wbc (white blood cell) count redone to be sure he's healing. It's the best way to ensure Sealy not only looks healthy, he is healthy.

Sealy may be on antibiotics for a couple of months. I have foster mom friends who have had to keep cats on antibiotics that long for certain conditions. We had erred and thought three weeks was enough time and it wasn't. Thank goodness we took him in for the recheck last week.

I asked the vet whether the infection was the reason Sealy was vomiting and he told me it was. He threw up less than a teaspoon a few days after starting the new round of Baytril. The vet had given him a strong dose by injection on Saturday so we didn't have to pill him until Sunday.

Sealy also had his left front and left rear paws wrapped to prevent him from scratching. He's not too happy about that. Most of the time he leaves the bandages alone. He's toothless, so he can't do much to rid himself of them. We have to change them when they show signs of being dirty just in case he does scratch.

I have a very good vet to suggest the bandages. A money hungry vet would have recommended declawing. Sealy has something wrong with him where his claws stay out all of the time. So it was important to take away the risk he had of hurting himself.

I write this story to warn readers that internal infections in cats don't always have a lot of signs that they're there. If anything out of the ordinary begins to occur with your cat, please see a vet. A lot of my friends thought Sealy may have had something as simple as a hairball. A hairball can cause the same type of vomiting. But a vet visit is really needed to be sure the cat isn't sick. Cats can hide illness and pain so well.

As far as Sealy's head wound is concerned, we don't believe he's in much pain from it. I suspect he had nerve damage at the time of the accident. We don't know yet whether he can hear out of that ear. He does respond from across the room when I call his name. We do know his inner ear was causing him pain because he went nuts when the vet examined and treated it.

Sealy has been a remarkable patient. He didn't so much as growl or hiss while having his temperature taken, blood drawn or a catheter put in for a sterile urine sample. When he received sub-Q fluids for three days, he didn't complain at all. He must really have been in pain to have attempted a nose dive off the exam table when the vet checked his ear.

For those of you who want to follow his progress, please go to I post photos and updates on his condition daily, including any backsliding on his condition.

Take a lesson from us and from Sealy and don't risk an internal infection killing your cat.

In closing, I'd like to give one tip as to how to arrange payments for a vet visit. I had a talk with my vet and explained my situation. He agreed to give me a ten day hold on my bill. Even if that bill is several hundred dollars. Some vets may set up arrangements to pay on a monthly basis. There are even a few credit cards out there primarily to cover pet care expenses. Go to for more information on this. There are payment options. If you trust your vet, ask about prepaying a certain amount to the clinic so the funds will be there when you need them.

I believe it shocked my vet to have people calling their office to put money down on the bill. The options are out there. You just have to be willing to speak up and ask about them. Beg if you have to. Your cat's life may depend on this vet visit and your ability to negotiate payment.

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Internal Infections In Cats

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Apr 07, 2012
Cats are so similar to humans !!
by: Anonymous

Reading about Sealy vomiting while on antiobiotis

should remind us of this fact.

Periodically our caring drs give as a prescription for antibiotics, some do well while others get severe reactions, including "anaphaletic" swallowing becomes difficult due to swelling of throat & thrachea possibly fatal.

We're different in our biological makeup.Cats are similar to us, we can have a reaction not only with foods but meds as well.Sadly sometimes with fatal results, advise, if not feeling better within 24 or new symptoms, call Dr ASAP.

Best wishes to you & yours.


southeast arizona

Apr 07, 2012
Ear mites can be deadly to cats !!
by: Anonymous

Reading about your experience with Sealy & infections caused by mites brings to mind our last rescue Scarlett O'Hair.

Our cat Snuggles passed away June 2004 she was 20 yrs old, we decided no more cats, fast forward to October 2004 as husband was going for daily walk a young Tortie approached him & being a cat lover he reached down to pet her (alley) by the time he reached front there she was meowing for someone to give her a furever home. A couple of days later arrangements were made to have vet check her, shots & spay. He said make sure you tell vet to check her ears.

Friday afternoon I took her to vet but completely forgot about ears, as vet put her down on floor Scarlett shook her head vigorously so he decided to check her ears, to our disgust both ears were pitch black with mite feces. He placed first round of drops in her ears, I was to do second round next day.

He was very firm what would happen if mites were not cleared from ears, I did what he said & thankfully was able to clear mites out. She will be 8 yrs old soon but no more mites.

If ear mites are not treated properly an infection will set in just like Sealy, sometimes with fatal results.

Remember mites can kill a cat.


Southeast Arizona USA

Apr 06, 2012
having a hard time
by: elisa

We had made the mistake that a few weeks of antibiotics would cure Sealy. He's still on the Baytril and no more vomiting.

Our main problems have come from the wound. It scares me because Sealy manages to scratch and has made it larger. Still no infection. The vet told us we could put Preparation H on it but nothing else and to leave it uncovered. We tried putting a flannel suit on him and he managed to rake back the hood and scratch.

He was also able to get the bandages off his feet plus they were rough. So I bought some baby socks and we're taping them to his two left paws. But he keeps kicking them off.

Today I also bought large bandages to put on the actual wound. I worry about him continuing to want to scratch it. We know it has to heal from the inside out and we aren't supposed to clover it but its hard knowing what's right to do.

Sealy lay beside me 6 hours last night. He continues to have a great appetite and we no longer have to ration his food. He can eat as much as he wants now. He's the sweetest kitty. He even had to check out the veggies on my dinner plate last night.

Its very hard not to choose to euthanize with such an injury. But Sealy is trying so hard to get well and he loves having his cage on my nightstand at night. It may take a good 6 months to heal. We're doing all we can to make him happy

Apr 06, 2012
Throwing Up & Antibiotics
by: Elle Boukhtin

Hi there, I read what you had written and just thought I would share some of our insight we learned while taking care of Ninja ( The Baytril did not seem to agree with him at all after a couple of weeks. He seemed ok with it at first, but then started throwing up a couple times a day. We weren't exactly sure what the problem was... they vets thought that we were possibly feeding him too quickly through his feeding tube, but I assured them that wasn't the case since he got sick even before feeding. That particular medication just did not sit right with him at a certain point (just a couple weeks if I remember right), so we got the ok to discontinue the Baytril but we've been keeping him on Clavamox that really seems to help him or make him sick. Just thought I'd throw our experience with that drug out there!

Apr 06, 2012
by: Michael

I found this story interesting. It has a moral I think.

Dealing with the major, traumatic injury meant that other relatively minor health problems were put on the back burner or initially missed.

I don't think anyone was careless it is just that the focus is on the obvious, the fan blade injury.

Of course any cat can have any number of illnesses before getting injured.

I am glad that you picked up the problem and have dealt with it.

It is interesting too for the information that a bacterial infection in the ear can cause vomiting. I'll remember that.

Apparently ear mite infections are often the cause of bacterial infections of the ear canal - bacterial otitis externa.

Well done Elisa for your continuing dedicated care of Sealy.

Apr 05, 2012
Laura's the normal one
by: Ruth (Monty's Mom)

I think most people would react as Laura did to Sealy's infection. Where Laura threw up when the vet was pulling pus out of Sealy's ear I probably would have been getting in there for a closer look.

Apr 05, 2012
Glad you wrote this
by: Ruth (Monty's Mom)

I am so glad you wrote this article, Elisa, as it may save cats' lives in the future. You are good at writing about timely subjects that can help us become better cat caretakers.

Monty has a back claw like Sealy's in that he can't retract it. I think it's actually two of them like that. They're kind of stuck together and I don't think he can actively abduct them very well. I think he got his foot caught in one of the traps animal control was setting to try and catch the kittens. If I had known that most, if not all, of those kittens were going to be killed I would never have allowed animal control onto my property. I'm not sure I actually really did give permission. I kept saying there were no kittens. They just came and trapped kittens anyway.

Sometimes it's good not to know too much about the past of our feral furry friends. I try to just focus on right now, and how happy and healthy Monty is today.

Apr 05, 2012
Internal infections DO kill a cat !
by: Anonymous


Thankful & grateful dear Sealy is doing better. We had a very small female Tabby, she caught a cold, took her to vet. She was hospitalized for 1 week, was sent home with antiobiotics for another week.She seemed to be doing well

Sadly she died in her sleep, pneumonia set in.She was 2 years old.

A simple infection will turn fatal quickly, I applaud your commitment to our purry/furry friends.

A mutual catlover/rescuer/helper.


Southeast Arizona, USA

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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