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Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook


Burns are caused by heat, chemicals, electric shocks and radiation. Sunburn is an example of a radiation burn. It occurs on the ear flaps of cats with white coats (see EARS: Sunburn) and on the skin of white-coated cats that are sheared in summer.

A cat may be scalded by having hot liquid spilled on it or by being involved in some other household accident. A common type of burn occurs on the foot pads after walking on a hot surface such as a tin roof, stove top or freshly tarred road.

The depth of injury depends on the length and intensity of exposure. With a superficial burn you will see redness of the skin, occasionally blistering, perhaps slight swelling; and the burn area is tender. With deep burns the skin appears white, the hair comes out easily when pulled, and pain is severe. If more than 15 percent of the body surface is deeply burned, the outlook is poor. Fluid losses are excessive. Shock can occur.

Treatment: Apply cool compresses (not ice packs) to small burns for 30 minutes to relieve pain. Replace as compress becomes warm. Clip away hair and wash gently with a surgical soap. Blot dry. Apply Silvadene Cream or Triple Antibiotic Ointment. Protect the area from rubbing by wrapping it with a loose-fitting gauze dressing.

Treat acid, alkali, gasoline, kerosene and other chemical burns by flushing with large amounts of water for five minutes. Wear gloves and bathe the cat with mild soap and water. Blot dry, and apply antibiotic ointment. Bandage loosely.



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