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Cellulitis in Dogs and Cats

Natura Petz supplements to help address Cellulitis in Dogs and Cats

Cellulitis in Dogs and Cats

Herbal nutrition to help address symptoms of cellulitis and abscess in dogs and cats.

The immune system is a complex array of cells that are found throughout your pet’s body that form a fortified defense against foreign invaders. Immune cells are designed to function in conjunction with one another as well as to provide systemic support to cells and organs. It is an intricate and delicate system that helps keep your pet healthy and protects them against allergens, viruses, bacteria, microbes, parasites and toxins.

The immune system is tasked toward normal, balanced function and is not supposed to be suppressed or stimulated. When your pet's immune system is compromised, it impacts all body systems, and every body system is at risk for auto immune failure and potentially disease. 

Cellulitis is an infection of the skin that affects individual cells and surrounding tissues, and is typically caused by bacteria related to Streptococci and Staphylococcus. An area affected by cellulitis will be tender to touch and pressure, will feel hot to the touch, may not feel as soft as surrounding areas and may be red and swollen. Fever often accompanies cellulitis.  

As infection spreads out from the wound, it may cause swelling in the lymph glands, as well as swollen nodes in the groin, armpit, and neck. Regional lymph nodes in the groin, armpit, or neck may enlarge to help contain and localize the infection. Cellulitis can usually be prevented by properly treating wounds on your dog and cat. Cellulitis is an example of compromised immune health and is commonly accompanied by an abscess.

With a skin abscess forms, it involves both skin and tissue which develop an opening or pocket which contains pus and will feel like fluid under pressures. Abscess most commonly occurs as a result of a puncture wound, deep scratches, bites and lacerations as well as around a tooth root. Abscesses can be large or small and can occur in one or more places.  Common diagnosis for abscess include pimples, pustules, boils and furuncles.  

With abscess, the inflammatory cells (white blood cells) will fight off the invading bacteria and the body will absorb the pus gradually and the abscess will normally heal.

Consult your vet if it does not heal within a few days or a week or if it is adjacent to the eyes, ears, anus or genitals, as these areas can quickly become a medical emergency.

Symptoms of cellulitis in dogs and cats:

Redness and swelling at the site

Discharge (pus) from the abscess

Hair may fall off on/around the abscess

Your animal may be listless

Pain and discomfort (i.e. drooling, constant licking of infected area)

Loss of appetite (anorexia)

If the inflammatory cells cannot clean up the infection on their own, the pus will accumulate, putting increasing pressure on the skin, eventually causing the abscess to rupture. In most cases, the pus will drain outside of the body, assisting in eliminating the infection. However, if the pus ruptures and drains internally, this is a medical emergency and you should consult your vet immediately.  

Sometimes, an abscess drains but does not heal, creating a fistula. A fistula may form if there is a foreign object in the tissue, such as wood splinters, grass, etc). In order for the wound to heal, the object must be removed. 

Surface wounds are fairly common in animals but they can become problematic if they become infected and are left untreated. While most irritations can often be treated with ointments and creams, an abscess can form if an irritation worsens or if bacteria invade the skin.

Abscesses happen more frequently in cats than in dogs. Most abscesses are due to puncture wounds (i.e., from dog or cat fights). An abscess can also be caused by plant pieces that get trapped in the hair and work their way through the skin. most commonly occurring on feet, between the toes; in or around the ears and between the hind legs.

Types of Cellulitis:

Pasteurella multocida is the most common bacteria to cause skin infections.

Another cause of skin irritation is the Staphylococcus intermedius, which can usually be treated with topical ointments. 

If either of these bacteria makes their way deep into the skin, infection becomes a serious problem. A painful abscess will form in response to the bacterial invasion if the wound is left untreated.

If your pet has cuts or wounds, first evaluate whether they are deep or superficial. If they are superficial, use an herbal wound healer like Seal 'Em & Heal 'Em or a pet formulated over-the-counter anti-bacterial ointments that can be used to help reduce the likelihood of an infection. If you are concerned about the abscess, see your vet immediately.

At home remedies:

Warm Compresses: Warm compresses can stimulate the development of an abscess so that it can open and drain. Saturate a cloth with warm water and hold it over the abscess for about 5 to 10 minutes several times a day.

Clean the Wound: Once the abscess has opened, keep the wound clean and open so that the pus can continue to discharge. Continue the warm compresses daily. In addition, you may flush the wound with a solution of Seal 'Em & Heal 'Em. Use an Elizabethan collar if necessary.

Heal the Wound: After the infection has cleared and the wound is clean but not completely healed, apply an ointment of Seal ‘Em & Heal ‘Em (Sangre de Grado) or calendula to stimulate closing of the wound.

Boost the Immune System: As with any infection, it is important to boost your animal’s immune system. Bionic Body is an effective immune-boosting herb.

If an abscess forms due to a foreign object (plants, splinters, etc.) you can use the homeopathic remedy Silicea (30C) to expel it from the tissue.

Herbal Nutrition - (listed in order of relevance and recommendation by holistic vets - human grade meets/exceeds highest safety criteria for pets)

Herbal remedies are used holistically to help promote immunity and to help counteract abscess and infection in dogs and cats, to help limit bacterial infection, to help support tissue repair, to help promote wound healing and proper drainage, to limit help inflammation, to boost or balance immunity as needed and to support proper, balanced immune function; herbs are strongly anti-bacterial, anti-viral, antiseptic, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and some herbs are natural forms of steroids.

Seal ‘Em & Heal ‘Em – (learn more) promotes healing for all types of wounds, including hot spots, abrasions, bites, cuts, scrapes, skin irritations, infections, bleeding & hemorrhaging conditions, ulcers, GERD, esophaghitis & other degenerative conditions of the larynx & throat; provides cellular support of tissue, skin & coat; for gastrointestinal distress; as a neurasthenic that blocks the activation of nerve fibers & tissue response to inflammation, supporting the body's tissue repair mechanism to stop mutations (important in the treatment of all types of Lyme disease, including Lyme borealis, burgdorferi, borreliosis & Chronic Lyme disease (CLD); and may help remove plague and tartar upon application to help support healthy teeth and gums.

First Aid & Wound Meal Topper for Dogs and Cats* - (learn more) is used holistically to help provide relief against external and internal wounds, cuts, bites, hot spots, bites, infections, bruises, scrapes, abscess, cellulitis, allergic responses and more; as a hemostatic which may help stop bleeding on contact; may help promote collagen production, cellular repair and wound healing up to 30 times faster than without use; may help accelerate wound healing and combat infection; may be used internally or externally for bacterial, fungal and microbial infections as well as for its anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties; used holistically for its action on intestinal parasites, which are known to compromise immune health; may help as an adjunctive to help address acute and chronic diseases related to bacteria, germs, fungus and viruses, including retrovirus; cytomegalovirus; E. Coli; Staph; Bacillus subtilis and DNA and RNA viruses and as a holistic adjunctive for cases of rabies.

I Cell-Ebrate Life (learn more) helps to promote healthy cell and cell membrane support; helps promotes connective tissue, skin and coat support and antioxidant protection against free radicals, which is important in disease prevention; helps standardize normal cell operation; encourages free radical scavenging of cysts, tumors and lipomas; may help address symptoms related to Lyme disease; provides nutritional, biochemical and plant botanical support of healthy immune cells; promotes optimal immune protection and systematic health and strength; supports bone, teeth and muscle health and integrity and for animals that need extra joint, immune, circulatory and vascular support.

All Shins & Grins – (learn more) supports the skin’s ability to withstand environmental toxin, antigen and microorganism exposure due to its Vitamin C and antioxidant content; stimulates collagen production which directly affects bone mass, bone strength, cartilage, joints, muscles, connective tissues and blood vessels (important for cases of arthritis) as well as eye and teeth health (important for macular degeneration and dental disease); promotes optimal immune response; promotes strong teeth, bone, skin and coat; may help reduces allergic (acute and chronic) skin reactions and irritations, hot spots and soothes itchy skin and coat in dogs and cats; may work  to cut recovery time and prevent recurring infections and provides general mood support.

Bionic Body – (learn more) is used holistically for its adaptogenic immune boosting and anti-inflammatory support; as an antioxidant and for its free radical scavenging (disease preventing) actions; for its nutritive content which may help to nourish the body and strengthen and revitalize bones, eye, teeth, skin and coat; works to stimulate collagen production, a primary building material of bones; may  help prevent dental disease; for its plant actions to help strengthen bones, cartilage, joints, muscles, connective tissues & blood vessels & helps to reduce joint inflammation, while activating a cartilage-protective biochemical, potentially helping to preserve healthy cartilage in aging joint; for its prebiotic and probiotic content to help support native gut flora and healthy digestion; may help to fight off allergies and infections.

Conventional Remedies:

Your veterinarian will take a swab test of the infected area to determine the strain of bacteria present. A standard blood test will be performed to see if the infection has migrated to the bloodstream. 

Initially, most skin issues can be treated with topical solutions and ointments, but in cases where bacteria has invaded deep tissue, or has infected the blood, other options will be considered. 

Your pet will need to be taken to the veterinarian so that the wound can be properly cleansed, drained, and flushed, which may prevent deeper infection and complications. Your veterinarian will also likely prescribe antibiotics to control the bacteria.

If the abscess is serious or deep in the skin, clindamycin may be recommended as a more aggressive mode of treatment. There are also some dips and shampoos that can treat your pets entire skin surface.


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