What to do if a cat bites
Cats bite humans less often than dogs, but the chances of suffering from the teeth of both the domestic Murka and the wild hunter are quite large. The share of cat bites accounts for around 10–20% of all people bitten by animals. Children and teenagers who play with stray animals suffer from bites more often.
What is dangerous cat bite for a man and how to proceed in this case? Do I always need to see a doctor? Consider how to properly handle and treat a cat bite, as well as find out what diseases are capable of transmitting these fluffy pets with saliva.
Features and effects of a cat bite
Unlike dogs, cats are not able to inflict serious damage even to a small child. The sizes of cats are small, the jaws are weak, and the teeth are small. Despite this, harmless at first glance, cat bites are very dangerous.
Yes, the damage caused by the dog is more traumatic, but it is easier to heal. The fact is that in the mouth cavity of a cat contains specific microorganisms that cause inflammation of the wound.
Small, but sharp teeth are able to penetrate deep under the skin into the muscles and other underlying tissues, and at the same time enter the company of cheerful bacteria. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully treat the wound and use antibiotics to treat a cat bite.
The bite depth can also be deceptive. From the teeth, there remain small, “punctured” wounds, which actually penetrate rather deeply into the underlying tissues - muscles, tendons. Especially dangerous are the effects of a cat bite into the joint (for example, fingers), the face and neck.
Another unpleasant consequence - the bites of cats do not heal well, which leads to the formation of scar tissue and ugly from a cosmetic point of view. Plus, the bites are often accompanied by scratches.
When to see a doctor
Frequently asked questions - a cat bit and a swollen arm, a finger - how to treat? In this case, you need to seek qualified medical assistance. Do not self-medicate, since there may be serious consequences, including necrosis of the tissues and amputation of the limb.
Also see a doctor in case of other complications:
- multiple bites or extensive damage area;
- bites to the joint (bit the cat and a swollen finger) or in the face and neck;
- severe bleeding that does not stop for 15 minutes;
- feeling unwell;
- inflammation of the wound - swelling redness, suppuration;
- bites of an animal unvaccinated against rabies and having contact with the street.
It is advisable to contact the emergency room immediately, within 12 hours after the bite - so there are more chances to crush the infection in the fetus.
Usually a doctor prescribes antibiotics for a cat bite:
If two days have passed, and there are no signs of infection, antibiotic therapy is not required.
In case of wound injuries, tetanus vaccination is required, if you do not have it, then tetanus toxoid serum is administered. Rabies vaccination is done depending on the evidence.
First aid and treatment
If you are bitten by a cat - what to do? Minor injuries can be treated on their own. It is also necessary to carry out the initial treatment of the wound before going to the hospital.
- The bite is thoroughly washed for 5–15 minutes (depending on the bite depth) with soap and water - this is necessary in order to remove all the saliva that has entered the skin, and along with the saliva the bacteria from the cat’s mouth and possible causative agents of tetanus and rabies.
- The wound is treated with a solution of hydrogen peroxide, in the absence of peroxide - with alcohol or vodka.
- If necessary, stop the bleeding. For this you need to put a pressure bandage. Typically, cat bites cause capillary bleeding, as the teeth are small and the bites are shallow. In rare cases, it may be venous bleeding from superficial veins. In both cases, the blood is stopped by a pressure bandage. There is a positive side to the bleeding from the wound - the blood washes away cat's saliva.
- If the bleeding has stopped for 15 minutes, then you do not need to apply a tight bandage.
- The skin around the wound is smeared with a solution of brilliant green, iodine or alcohol.
- An antibacterial ointment is applied to the wound.
- From above, the damaged skin is covered with a light sterile dressing so that no dirt gets into the wound.
You should know that you can not sew up skin damage from cat bites. Bleeding vessels are sutured to eliminate bleeding. Extensive damage is first treated, and in the absence of inflammation, cosmetic surgery is performed.
What does a cat bite a child? If this is your domestic cat, vaccinated against rabies or living only in an apartment (without walking outside), and the damage is minor, then treat the wound with antiseptics and apply a sterile dressing.
What to do if the cat bitten to the blood? As noted above, wound healing depends on how carefully you have treated it with antiseptics.
What should I do if the cat bit my finger and swells it or is the hand swollen? Unfortunately, complications develop in every fifth case, and more often in the hand area, since bones and joints are located close under the skin. Getting there bacteria causes inflammation of the periosteum and articular bags. For treatment you need to go to the hospital.
In case of serious injuries, immediately consult a doctor, because of the cat bites there are many complications.
Cat Bite Complications
The main complications of cat bites are:
- bacterial infections;
- scarring due to poor wound healing.
The risk of complications increases with the following diseases:
- immunodeficiency states;
- swelling of the damaged area;
- liver disease;
- peripheral vascular diseases;
- damage to prosthetic joints.
Consider the complications such as bacterial infections and rabies.
With cat's saliva, a whole "bunch" of microorganisms gets into the damaged tissues.
With cat bites, they excrete:
- streptococci and staphylococci;
- and a number of other opportunistic microorganisms.
Due to the fact that microbes are brought relatively deep into the tissue, an inflammation center is formed, and if the process is unfavorable, a systemic infection develops:
- kidney inflammation;
- purulent skin diseases;
- general blood infection.
In some cases, necrosis of damaged tissues is possible, which can lead to loss of a limb without appropriate surgical treatment.
In the case of punctures, the infection develops more often than with lacerated wounds, as the cat’s saliva is washed away with blood.
Tetanus is another danger from cat bites. The disease is caused by a soil microbe. It affects the nervous system and causes spastic muscle contraction. For tetanus, regular prophylactic vaccinations are held once every five years. If there is no vaccination, it is necessary to introduce tetanus toxoid to prevent the development of infection.
A frequent complication of cat bites is cat scratch disease. The medical name is lymphoreticulosis. The causes of the disease are still controversial. Previously it was thought that the disease provokes the virus, then it was attributed to bacteria and rickettsiae isolated from sick people. The disease often affects children and adolescents. The cat is asymptomatic carrier, the pathogen is in her mouth, and when licking gets under the claws. When applying scratches or bites, the microbe is inserted into the wound, the bite becomes inflamed and swells. 3–10 days after the bite, inflammation develops in the regional lymph node, sometimes accompanied by headaches, deterioration of well-being and fever. From the bite to the inflamed node there is a red stripe (lymphangitis). Most often, the infection passes without consequences, but in some cases complications such as meningitis and other lesions of the nervous system may occur.
Cats are carriers of cat scratch disease for a short period of 2-3 weeks. If the cause of the disease has become a furry pet - bitten a domestic cat - what to do in this case? It is necessary to isolate the cat for three weeks from other family members - after this period he is no longer infectious. It is impossible to determine in advance whether the cat is the carrier of the cat scratch pathogen.
What to do if you are bitten by a street cat? In this case, it is necessary to take measures to prevent rabies.
Rabies is a deadly disease of warm-blooded animals and humans, which is transmitted when the saliva of infected animals enters the blood. Infection occurs through bites or if saliva gets on damaged skin.
Cats are often carriers of rabies - in urban areas, along with dogs, its main distributors. According to statistics, 90% of cats with rabies are in the age group younger than three years.
What to do if bitten by a mad cat? If you are bitten by a stray cat, as well as an unvaccinated home with access to the street, you should definitely be vaccinated. Rabies is an incurable disease and can be transmitted even at the stage when the symptoms did not appear. It is advisable to catch the cat, isolate it (keep the animal in state institutions) and observe it for 15 days. A stray animal is killed and examined in a laboratory. In any case, the first injections are made, and then, based on the results of overexposure or research, they decide whether to continue the course or not.
Signs of rabies in cats:
- lack of fear of the enemy;
- fear of light, harsh sounds;
- eating inedible items;
- hydrophobia - it hurts the cat to swallow, paralysis of the pharynx develops;
- profuse drooling;
- nervous disorders - convulsions, convulsions, paralysis.
Signs of rabies in a person after a cat bite develop after 1-3 weeks. The closer to the head was a bite, the shorter the incubation period. The first symptoms are irritability of the nervous system:
- reaction to loud noises;
- difficulty swallowing.
Unfortunately, today the disease is incurable, and after the first symptoms of rabies appear, it is no longer possible to cure a person. Nearly 100% of cases die from muscle paralysis.
Summarizing, we can say that cat bites themselves do not pose a threat to life and health. But with the saliva of an animal, bacteria and viruses can get into the wound. The bite does not heal well, possibly the development of complications - from a local inflammatory reaction to general sepsis. It is also necessary to prevent such dangerous diseases as rabies and tetanus. For the treatment of bites of stray animals, it is imperative to contact the health facility.