What Should You Do If A Cat Bites You?
19 March, 2018
Cats bite sometimes for fun or out of fear. For the most part, they are just reacting to a situation either because they are either over-stimulated or protecting themselves. If a cat bites you and it penetrates the skin, there are some things you should do right away.
Cat bites are especially dangerous and prone to infection because a cat’s needle-like teeth can push bacteria deep into flesh, tendons and joints. The small but deep puncture wounds are hard to thoroughly clean and tend to trap bacteria inside, where it quickly spreads.
Cat bite infections will be red and painful, and might have some drainage. You might see bumps or blisters. Late stages of infection might result in fever, weakness, swollen lymph nodes, headache and a general feeling of being unwell.
Why are cat bites so dangerous?
There are many reasons why cat bites can cause a high risk of infection. As mentioned above, cats sharp teeth are like needles, which can penetrate the skin and tissue more deeply.
Bites on or around a joint are at an even greater chance of becoming infected because the cat’s teeth can penetrate the membrane sheath that protects joints and tendons. Antibiotics have trouble reaching this area and, as a consequence, the bacteria grows rapidly without being controlled which makes the cat bite infected.
Cat bites on the hand are the most prone for infection
Cat bites on the hand are the most prone for infection and should be closely monitored. One third of bites on the hand result in hospitalization and some of those even require surgery to flush out the infection.
Hands tend to become infected more easily for a couple of reasons: there are numerous joints and tendons in the hand and hands are the most exposed to dirt and debris during a person’s daily routine.
How to treat a minor cat bite
Basic cat bite treatment can greatly reduce the risk of infection. The first step for anyone who has been bitten by a cat is to examine the wound and stop any bleeding. Applying pressure with a clean dry bandage should reduce any bleeding within a few minutes.
Once the bleeding has been stopped, the wound should be cleaned with mild soap and water. Hydrogen peroxide can be applied to the bite to help remove any lingering dirt or bacteria and to further clean the wound. An over the counter, topical antibiotic ointment can be used to help prevent an infection from forming. The ointment should be applied as soon as the wound is cleaned and dry.
A bandage can be placed over the bite to protect the wound from any dirt and bacteria getting in it. The bandage should be changed several times a day, and antibiotic ointment should be reapplied each time. The bite should be closely monitored for any signs of infection. If you have been bitten, make sure that you have had a tetanus shot in the last seven years.
How to treat a cat bite that is infected
Infected cat bites can escalate quickly and you should seek medical attention right away. Signs of infection can be noticed as soon as a few hours after the bite occurs and should not be taken lightly. Redness and swelling immediately after being bitten are normal but should not become noticeably worse over the course of a few days. If the redness and swelling do become worse and fluid starts to drain from the bite, then a stronger course of antibiotics may be needed.
Cat bites that are seen in the emergency room or by a doctor are treated as serious because of the high chance of infection. Cat bite antibiotics that are typically prescribed by a doctor will address a variety of types of bacteria. Depending on the severity of the bite and the circumstances surrounding the bite, your doctor may also recommend that you receive a rabies prophylaxis treatment.
Any cat bite can become seriously infected even if it does not seem to be that bad at first. All bites should be closely monitored for any signs of infection. If there is any question at all that a bite could possibly be infected, then always go to your doctor or an emergency room before it gets worse.
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