My cat got outside last Sunday night and did something to her paw. I couldn't see anything when I looked at it, but now she has licked the fur completely off one spot and it's very swollen. I've tried soaking it in epsom salts, but not sure which one of got more soaking wet. I should add that she's 10, and declawed in the front but still has the sheaths. Any ideas about what else I could be doing for her? Thanks.
It sounds like she has an infection, which should be treated with antibiotics, usually amoxicillin, which can be prescribed by your vet. Especially since she is declawed, which can complicate the situation.
Does she have any little wounds, like holes in the skin, in the swollen area? If so, this means the infection is starting to drain, which is fine. She will still need the antibiotics to cure the infection, either way.
In the meantime, the epsom salt soak is a good idea - it will draw the infection. Make sure the water is quite warm, as warm as she can stand it.
If soaking her paw is a real struggle, or if the infection is starting to drain, try sitting with her in your lap and using a washcloth dipped in hot water held against the area. You will have to keep re-dipping as it cools and changing the water to keep it hot (not too hot, obviously!), but it might go easier for you both.
I have been through this several times, (although not with a declawed cat). As a matter of fact one of my cats has an infected heel at the moment, we just got the diagnosis today. I usually use the wet washcloth as none of my cats will sit and let me hold their paw in water! Especially when it hurts - the pain confuses them and they, instinctively, don't want you to touch an area that hurts. Just do your best!
Kitty should be fine. With treatment, the infection will drain and heal and the fur will grow back.
Make sure she eats and, very importantly, drinks plenty of water. Infections cause fever and dehydration so she really needs to get lots of water, even if you have to use a feeding syringe to get it into her.
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