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Thermal Burns in Cats

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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In human medicine, burns are divided into various degrees. This type of classification does not exactly fit with how animal skin reacts to burns so a different system is used.

Burns are divided based on the thickness of the burn.

  • Superficial partial thickness burns are similar to first-degree burns. Only the top layer of skin is involved. The hair may still be attached to the skin. The skin appears red and no blisters are seen.

  • Deep partial thickness burns are similar to second-degree burns. The surface layer and some deeper layers of skin are involved. Unlike in humans, these burns infrequently have blisters. The skin is red and some layers of the skin may be exposed.

  • Full thickness burns are similar to third-degree burns. The burn extends through all layers of skin and may even include tissue beneath the skin. Immediately after the burn, the skin may look like leather or the surface of the burn may appear white.

    In animals, the hair coat acts as an insulator and protects the skin. For this reason, areas of the body with less hair are prone to greater damage than areas with a thick hair coat.

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