Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Frostbite

Contributor(s): Rosanna Marsella, David Scarff

Introduction

  • Due to exposure to extreme cold or contact with frozen metal objects.
  • Rare in healthy animals.
  • More common in animals moved from warm to cold environment.
  • Ear tips, digits and tail tip at greatest risk.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Freezing of tissues causes cell death.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Cat is sick or injured and unable to seek shelter.
  • Wind chill and wetting increase the risk.
  • Low external temperatures (persistently below freezing).
  • Prolonged exposure.
  • Recent move for an unacclimatized cat.

Pathophysiology

  • Areas of the body poorly protected by hair and/or peripheral circulation are susceptible to necrosis.

Timecourse

  • The colder the conditions the quicker frostbite can occur.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Swaim S F (1980) Trauma to the skin and subcutaneous tissues of dogs and cats. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 10 (3), 599-618 PubMed.


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