Osteomyelitis in Cats is a type of bone infection caused by a bacterial or fungal infection in the bone or bone marrow. Osteomyelitis is an inflammation of the bone or bone marrow. This is most commonly caused by bacterial infections, but it can also be caused by fungal infections.

An acute (sudden) infection or chronic infection can cause inflammation. Infections from other parts of the body can enter the bloodstream and reach the bones or bone marrow, or the infection could be caused by another infection close to the bone. After a fracture or surgical procedure, this can occur directly in the bone. Inflammation of the bone and surrounding tissues is caused by the infection. To get rid of the infection, you’ll need medical help.

A cat limping due to osteomyelitis

Causes of Osteomyelitis in cats

A bacteria or fungus that has entered the body through normal means of transmission such as ingestion, exposure to other sick animals, or a wound is the most common cause of a bone or bone marrow infection. Roadside accidents or injuries to the bone and soft tissues are one of the most common causes of osteomyelitis in cats.

Patients who have had surgical implants or other bone surgeries may develop an infection as a result. Your cat’s infection occurs when the infection spreads to the bone and marrow, causing inflammation and pain.

The following are some of the reasons:

  • Injuries Trauma
  • Fractures
  • Post-surgery
  • Implantation of a prosthetic joint
  • Infection of the soft tissues
  • A gunshot wound, a bite wound, and a claw wound
  • Infections that spread throughout the body and reach the bones
  • Infection of the teeth

Symptoms of Osteomyelitis

Other infection-related symptoms in your cat may appear in isolated areas. Your cat may also show signs of infection such as difficulty breathing, a runny nose or eyes, a fever, or vomiting and diarrhea.

A cat suffering from osteomyelitis with blood on its nose

Among the signs and symptoms of osteomyelitis in cats are:

  • Ulcers or lesions that persist
  • Fever
  • oozing or pus from the wound site or soft tissues
  • Lethargy
  • Pain in the limbs
  • Muscle depletion
  • The swelling of the limbs
  • Lameness
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Arthritis or stiffness
  • Swelling of the joints
  • Appetitelessness

Diagnosis of Osteomyelitis in cats

You’ll need to provide a detailed history of your cat’s health, including the appearance of symptoms and any incidents that may have contributed to this condition. Your veterinarian may be able to tell whether your condition is acute or chronic based on the information you provide. A physical exam will be performed, and your veterinarian may request an X-ray or other imaging to accurately identify the infection’s location and severity.

In order to determine the source of the infection and develop an appropriate treatment plan, a wide range of diagnostic tests will be required. Veterinary staff may take samples of pus or drainage in addition to blood and urine analysis. A bone biopsy or a bone marrow aspiration may be required to determine the infection source.

An x-ray of a cat leg with osteomyelitis

Treatment of Osteomyelitis in cats

Treatment options will occur due to a variety of factors, including the type of infection, its location, severity, and the organism that is causing it. Additional treatments will be needed to manage your cat’s bone infection if it is caused by another infection or a wound. Even if the exact organism causing the infection has not been identified, your veterinarian may start some treatments, such as antibiotics.

Antibiotics will be given to patients with bacterial infections to kill the bacteria and enable the immune response to focus on healing. To help rid your cat’s body of infectious disease and pace the healing process, you’ll need to drain, flush, and remove dead tissue. Your cat can be given analgesics. Surgery or amputation may be required in some cases.

During the treatment and recovery period, your cat’s activity will need to be limited. The bone will continue to stay volatile for some time, and your cat will need to understand to make up for the loss of the limb if it is amputated. Treatment can be costly and time-consuming, depending on the severity of the infection.

In contrast to chronic cases, which require extensive therapy as well as surgical intervention, acute cases respond well. If the infection does not respond to antibiotic treatment, your veterinarian will take more samples to find a more appropriate antibiotic.

Ascertain that your cat has a secure and comfortable place to rest and recover. Give your cat good¬†food, water, and litter box close together so they don’t have to travel far to get what they need. The healing process will be accelerated if you eat well.


Kehinde Ezekiel is a freelance writer who has covered many topics, including home improvement, gardening, pets, tech, and parenting.

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