Cats always seem cute and harmless and thus, often make people unaware of dangers this world’s number one pet may bring. In fact, cat bite and scratches are quite harmful, since they may bring potential diseases to the infected body parts. Some research even release a fact that domestic animals, such as dogs and cats are more responsible for the majority of animal bites compared to any other animals. However, although dogs do cause more bite injuries, cat bites are more likely to be infected.
Why cat bite cause diseases?
There are a couple of reasons why animal bites, including cats often lead to infection. A couple of the most common causes are:
- Those animal bites, especially from cats often occur on the fingers, palms, or the hands, where it is harder for the body to fight occurring infection.
- Cat’s mouth is a harbor for multiple bacteria, so that cat bites almost always transfer these bacteria from their mouth to the victim’s wound site.
- Animal teeth, especially cats cause puncture wounds that are not easy to clean thoroughly. Considering its small teeth, cats cause bite wounds that are small and deep. This type of wound usually heals quickly, trapping bacteria inside.
What diseases caused by cat bite
Dog bites are assumed to be the number one cause of rabies, along with some other wild animal bites, such as raccoons and bats. Although is not necessarily known as the cause of rabies transmitter, cat bites are not less dangerous than the dog’s ones. In fact, cat bites can possibly lead to some health complication including:
Puncture wound infections
Cats’ teeth are small, yet very sharp. When you are bitten by cats, you will likely to have a deep puncture wound with small size. This is quite different with those usually-gapped wounds caused by dog bites. Due to its small size, wounds caused by cat bites tend to heal quickly, before you realize there is bacterial infestation inside the wound. An infected puncture wound is signed by other common symptoms of infection, such as extreme chills or fever, nausea, swollen lymph nodes, and breathing difficulty.
Bleeding wound site
Most cat bites lead to puncture wounds, but some of those may result in gapped wound edges. With this type of wound, blood vessels beneath the skin are often damaged, leading to bleeding that hardly stops. This type of cat bite may require further medical attention, in that it needs to be stitched after thoroughly observed for any risk of trapped bacteria.
In addition to a couple of complication above, cat bite may lead to some diseases, which can be life-threatening if undergone by those with weakened immune system. Those potential diseases include:
Cat Scratch Disease (CSD)
Despite the name, the disease is not only caused by cat scratches. Instead, it can occur as a result of cat bites and licks as well. This disease is often caused by bites, scratches, and licks from kittens. If you are suffering from this disease, you are going to suffer from inflamed lymph nodes, and those which are affected include the lymph nodes under the arm, on the neck, and in the groin regions. The disease often begins with papules or pustules—small raised areas without and with pus—on the area when the kitten bites, scratches, or licks. Although these bumps commonly disappear within two or three weeks afterwards, the lymph nodes often begin to swell on the affected areas. In rare cases, lymph nodes near the ear is also affected. Generally, a CSD can be treated at home without any antibiotics and rarely results in any complications in people with good immune system. However, in people with health complications, such as diabetes and cancer, a CSD should be immediately treated, as it may lead to further health complications, such as pneumonia, blindness, and hepatitis.
Pasteurella multocida infection
A bite from adult cats may also lead to an underlying disease caused by bacterial infestation. This Pasteurella multocida bacterial infection is signed by rapid swelling on the bite site within eight to twenty four hours after the bite. This infection should be treated within the first 48 hours after the cat bite.
Another disease that is likely to be caused by cat bites is tetanus. Whilst the CSD affects the lymph nodes, tetanus affects the nerve system, causing abnormal motoric movements that often results in stiffness of the jaws. Tetanus is transmitted by the bacteria residing on a cat teeth or claws, and can be dangerous if left untreated. Severe symptoms include severe jaw stiffness, high fever, and difficulty swallowing. To avoid this disease, a person bitten by any animals, include the domestic animals are advised to get a tetanus shot, if he has never got one within the last five years. Failing to recognize and thus, treat the disease may result in severe symptoms occurrence that may eventually lead to permanent damaged of the nerve system and the digestive tracts, resulting in a life-threatening condition. This treatment becomes specifically important for those with health complications, such as diabetes and heart diseases.