Observant Client Identifies Cause of Cat's Illness
A very ill cat came to my office a few days ago. The cat had suffered from lethargy and poor appetite for 24 hours. When I examined him I noticed that he was very dehydrated and that his hair was poorly groomed (sick cats do not groom themselves as well as healthy cats). The cat had a fever--his temperature was 105.6 degrees (normal temperature in a cat ranges up to 102.5).
A fever often is a sign infection. Infected fight wounds are the number one cause of fevers in outdoor cats. But this cat was kept indoors and had not escaped. Why was his temperature so high?
The owner decided to volunteer additional information. She had noticed that he was reluctant to walk and jump. He didn't wan't to raise his tail to "wink at her". It seemed to her that his "butt" might be sore. And at one point she noticed that one of his "butt cheeks" seemed larger than the other. She suspected that one of his "butt glands" might need to be "squeezed".
I evaluated the cat's hind end. It seemed symmetrical to me. However, cats have notoriously hairy butt cheeks and it was hard to see through the fur. The owner allowed me to perform a Brazilian trim on her cat.
Once the hair was out of the way, it was clear that the area to the left of the cat's anus was swollen. A rectal exam revealed that the left anal gland was infected and infiltrated with pus. I drained the pus and the fever broke within an hour.
Fortunately the client did not ask to be present when I lanced her cat's anal gland abscess. She surely would have regretted it.
Photo: here's looking at you, kid.