Back to home page

Antibiotics in cat bite abscesses 

Clinical Scenario

Harry is 4 year old male neutered domestic short hair cat that is brought in by Mr Armitage because he is ‘just not himself’. Whereas Harry normally spends most days outside, today he has been hiding under the bed and not touched his food. On clinical exam, Harry has a temperature of 38.4°C and a painful fluctuant swelling is identified in the skin over his right shoulder. A cat bite abscess is suspected and confirmed upon lancing the mass, when purulent discharge is drained. Pain relief is given to Harry and the abscess is flushed with saline, but once the abscess is draining, you wonder if it is still necessary to give antibiotics?

3-Part Question (PICO)

In [cats with a draining cat bite abscess that are systemically well] does [treatment with systemic antibiotics compared to no systemic antibiotics] [decrease the time to resolution of clinical signs]?

Search Strategy and Summary of Evidence

Search Strategy

MEDLINE(R) In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations and MEDLINE(R) 1946 to Present using the OVID interface

(cat.mp. OR cats.mp. OR feline.mp. OR felines.mp. OR felis.mp. OR exp cats/)

AND

(abscess.mp. OR abscesses.mp. OR abscessation.mp. OR abscessated.mp.)

AND

(antibacterial.mp. or antibacterials.mp. OR antibiotic.mp. OR antibiotics.mp. OR antimicrobial.mp. OR antimicrobials.mp. OR exp Anti-Bacterial Agents/ OR exp Anti-Infective Agents/)

CAB Abstracts 1910 to Present using the OVID interface

(cat.mp. OR cats.mp. OR feline.mp. OR felines.mp. OR felis.mp. OR exp cats/)

AND

(abscess.mp. OR abscesses.mp. OR abscessation.mp. OR abscessated.mp.)

AND

(antibacterial.mp. or antibacterials.mp. OR antibiotic.mp. OR antibiotics.mp. OR antimicrobial.mp. OR antimicrobials.mp. OR exp antibacterial agents/ OR exp antibiotics/ OR exp antiinfective agents/)

Search Outcome

MEDLINE

  • 166 papers found in MEDLINE search
  • 166 papers excluded as they don't meet the PICO question
  • 0 papers excluded as they are in a foreign language
  • 0 papers excluded as they are review articles/in vitro research/conference proceedings
  • 0 total relevant papers from MEDLINE

CAB Abstracts

  • 174 papers found in CAB search
  • 174 papers excluded as they don't meet the PICO question
  • 0 papers excluded as they are in a foreign language
  • 0 papers excluded as they are review articles/in vitro research/conference proceedings
  • 0 total relevant papers from CAB

Total relevant papers

0 relevant papers from both MEDLINE and CAB Abstracts

Summary of Evidence

No Summary of Evidence yet.

Comments

There were no published articles found directly comparing the antibiotic treatment to no antibiotic treatment in cats with abscesses. A small number of trials have compared one type of antibiotic usage with another in cat bite abscesses, but there is no consensus as to which antibiotic is more efficacious, with all studies reporting over 95% success rates. This does not address the issue as to whether we should use them at all.

Other resources such as expert opinion, narrative reviews, textbooks and online sites can be useful when peer-reviewed evidence does not exist. Examination of the human literature can sometimes offer insight into similar conditions in human populations, although there are obvious limitations in comparing different species and disease settings. In the absence of peer-reviewed evidence for antibiotic usage in cat bite abscesses in cats, it is interesting to consider a recent systematic review of randomized controlled trials in humans with skin and soft tissue abscesses. This systematic review identified no clear evidence that the use of antibiotics is required for treating uncomplicated abscesses after incision and drainage (Fahimi et al., 2015).

There is a need for further research to look at the clinical benefits of using antibiotics in cat bite abscesses in order to improve the strength of the evidence base in this area. The decision whether to use antibiotics or not in cats with cat bite abscesses should be based on preference of the veterinarian, in conjunction with discussion of the risks and benefits with the cat owner and licensing recommendations of the products considered.

Bottom line

There is currently no peer-reviewed evidence to support or refute the use of antibiotics in cats with draining cat bite abscesses to reduce the time taken to resolve clinical signs.

Disclaimer

The BETs on this website are a summary of the evidence found on a topic and are not clinical guidelines. It is the responsibility of the individual veterinary surgeon to ensure appropriate decisions are made based on the specific circumstances of patients under their care, taking into account other factors such as local licensing regulations. Read small print

References

Fahimi, J, Singh, A, Frazee, BW, (2015). The role of adjunctive antibiotics in the treatment of skin and soft tissue abscesses: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine, 17: 420-32.

About this BET

First author:
Rachel Dean
Second author:
Sarah Caddy
Institution:

CEVM, University of Nottingham

Magdalene College, University of Cambridge

 

Search last performed:
2018-03-26 15:04:02
Original publication date:
2018-03-29 15:04:02
Last updated:
2018-03-29 15:04:02
About BETs?

A BET is a simple method of searching for and appraising evidence around a very specific clinical situation.

Read more …

Using BETs?

BETs don’t tell you what to do, they tell you about the evidence on a certain topic.

Read more …

Not a Vet?

This website has been designed to help vets use the best, most relevant, up to date science when they make decisions about their patients.

Read more …