Did you know cats can get frostbite? Here is a photo of a cat that has frostbite on the tip of his ears.
Frostbite is injury to tissue that occurs when bodily tissue is exposed to freezing temperatures often accompanied by high winds. The primary areas affected in dogs and cats include the feet, tail and tips of the ears.
The cause for frostbite is that the body responds to exposure to cold temperatures by reducing blood flow to the outer parts of the body. This preserves blood flow to the vital internal organs. Without proper blood flow, the vulnerable body tissues don’t’ receive the required oxygen and warmth.
Ice crystals can form in the body tissues, which can result in tissue death. Unfortunately, frostbite injury is not immediately apparent. It may take several days before you notice the signs of frostbite injury.
Common signs of frostbite include skin discoloration on the ears, tail and toes, blisters or ulcerations, pain and swelling, and sloughing of skin.
Treatment includes initially, removing your pet from the freezing environment and begin to slowly re-warm the affected tissues. Bandages may be applied to reduce damage to the tissues as they are re-warmed. Never place the animal in hot water.
The wounds will need to be cleaned and we recommend antibiotic therapy and pain relief. In severe cases, amputation of the affected area may be required to prevent further infection and the development of gangrene.
If you have any concerns about your pet suffering from frostbite, please call us at 740-587-1129 for more information.