Many people are bitten by cats and dogs each year but the precise statistics simply cannot be obtained since majority of bites are never reported. The data, however, point to the fact that approximately 5-15% of all bites that occur each year in the USA are actually cat bites. Cat bites commonly cause lacerations and puncture wounds which make the spread of the bacteria from the cat's mouth directly into the tissues of the casualty easy.
What Types of Infections Are Associated with Cat Bite?
There are many bacteria that may inhabit cat's mouth and they can be easily transmitted via cat's saliva. They include Pasteurella species, Streptococcus species, Staphylococcus species and Actinomyces species. Furthermore Proprionibacterium, Peptostreptococcus, Bacteroides, Wolinella, Clostridium, as well as Fusobacterium are several more species that can cause infections due to cat's bite.
What Are Clinical Characteristics of Cat Bite?
The infection that occurs after the bite (usually because a person has not been administered suitable antibiotics as a form of prevention of infection) typically leads to the sensation of warmth around the wound, redness of the wound and surrounding area, swelling and the wound eventually becomes filled with puss. The wound is painful particularly to touch. If left neglected infection progresses and a patient may develop a low-grade fever, fatigue and headache.
Diagnosing Infection Associated with Cat Bite
The first thing a doctor does is ask certain questions regarding patient's current and past medical history. It is essential to determine when the bite occurred and what a person has done after he/she was bitten. The wound is closely inspected and the doctor performs several more test and examinations. Blood test will show changes in number of certain blood cells, to be more precise, white blood cells (leukocytes). The number of white blood cells is elevated, which is a characteristic of a infection in general. Furthermore, it is essential to take swabs of the wound and send them to be cultured. This way we can identify and isolate the bacteria responsible for the infection. Additional test is performed in order to determine what antibiotics the particular bacteria are sensitive to and these antibiotics are generally prescribed.
Treatment for Infection Caused by Cat Bite
Treatment of infection depends on the severity of the condition. It is necessary to clean the wound and remove all the foreign objects, dirt, dead tissue and skin. Proper cleaning is achieved with sterile water and germ-killing solutions. The wound is covered with either wet or dry dressing. Patients are always prescribed with antibiotics that will help in eradication of the infective agents. And finally, in case of intensive pain the doctor will prescribe pain relieving medications.