Cat Bites Are More Serious Than Suspected

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Most people don't consider cats to be ferocious animals, but did you know that a cat bite can lead to serious medical problems? The Mayo Clinic recently completed a study that shows that cat bites are not only more serious than previously thought, but also more common. The report shows that 30% of all people who see a doctor after a cat bite need to be hospitalized.

“Among hand surgeons, this is not really as surprising,” said Dr. Brian Carlsen, who led the study. “Cat bite injuries to the hand can progress to serious infection,” reads an excerpt from the study. “The treatment of such infections often requires hospitalization, intravenous antibiotic therapy, and operative treatment … these findings should increase concern for a severe infection and warrant hospitalization and urgent consultation with a hand surgeon.”

Many people believe that their pets' mouths are actually cleaner than human mouths and some even claim that because the temperature inside the mouths of cats is so hot, bacteria cannot live in them. The new study shows that this is not the case and that many different types of dangerous bacteria can and do live in the mouths and saliva of cats.

The study also claims that the location of the cat bite can determine how dangerous it is. If a person is bit on a certain joint, the body may not be able to flush out the infection and the bacteria could spread and lead to severe health problems.

Carlsen warns anyone who is bitten by a cat to pay close attention to the wound. If it does not appear to be healing within a couple days or appears to get worse, he suggests seeing a doctor. Antibiotics can heal bacterial infections related to cat bites and the sooner you begin taking them, the quicker you will recover from the bite and the infection.

Did you know that cat bites were so serious?

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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