Jasper, a 13 year old male sterilised ginger cat was brought into Vetwest Clarkson at the end of July because his mum had noticed that he had been limping for the previous week. He is a cat that loves the outdoors and getting up to mischief.
During physical examination Jasper appeared to have a very slight limp on his left front leg but no specific abnormalities could be found. His temperature was normal and aside from a few scratches on his body, Jasper appeared to be very healthy. We decided to treat Jasper with some medication to reduce any inflammation and help reduce the pain Jasper was in.
Jasper returned once again a few weeks later. His owner reported that some days he seemed fine, but on others, he was very sore on his leg and would hold it off the ground. And in the past few days, he had started to become quieter in himself, and was not eating as much as he usually did.
On physical examination, palpation of his radius and ulna was very painful and it felt quite irregular. Jasper had an increased temperature, and seemed more lethargic than when we last saw him. A blood test was performed, and this showed that Jasper had a moderate increase in his white blood cell count, consistent with possible inflammation or infection. Repeat xrays were done on his leg, and these showed some quite incredible changes. His left radius showed areas of both bone production and bone destruction.
Pasteurella is a pathogenic bacterial organism that is commonly transmitted between cats via bites. Jasper probably contracted this organism through a bite wound and the severe bacterial contamination of his left forearm as well as surrounding soft tissue injury contributed to the development of the post-traumatic osteomyelitis. In many cases, cat bite wounds will cause an abscess, however we do occasionally see cases where the infection is deeper, and enters into bone.
A few days after starting his new medication, Jasper's owner reported that he was already happier in himself, and had started to eat like he used to. We will take a repeat xray of Jasper's leg once he has been on the antibiotics for 6 weeks, and to monitor the healing process.