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Cat bites and infections

When many people hear of an animal bite they automatically associate it with a dog. However, cat bites are very frequent, too, and can be very dangerous if they are not treated properly.

One of the reasons why cat bites become easily infected is that the injury is generally a puncture wound. The punctures may be small, but they are often very deep. The wounds seal over quickly, which traps bacteria inside bite from the mouth of the cat. That bacteria begins to multiply and can lead to conditions such as cellulitis or septicemia. These conditions can also occur with cat scratches.

The bites or scratches can become infected, leading to flu-like symptoms, including fever. If not treated, the victim can die. The elderly, young children and those with a suppressed immune system are most vulnerable to developing severe infections.

If you are bitten or scratched by a cat, it is important to immediately wash the wound with warm water and a disinfectant. It is also important that the wound is not vigorously scrubbed as this can delay healing and damage the tissue in and around the wounds. A solution of 2 cups of water to 1 teaspoon of salt can also be used to cleanse the infected areas. Treatment by a physician is recommended in order to see if antibiotics are needed to prevent or treat the infection. Depending on the circumstances of the cat attack, the doctor may determine that treatment for rabies is also needed.

If you have been injured by a neighbor's cat that attacked you, you may be able to seek compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and more. An attorney can help you learn more about your legal options.

 

Source: VCA Hospitals, "Wounds - Cat Bite Injuries to Humans," Ernest Ward, DVM, accessed April 06, 2017

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