Your kitty may be cute, but be careful of those teeth and claws. While most people will not suffer from rough-housing with their feline friends, there are a number of bacterial infections associated with cat scratches and cat bites. In this article we’ll be taking a look at cat-scratch fever, what the condition looks like, how to treat it, and how you can prevent it in the future.
What is cat-scratch fever?
Cat-scratch fever, also known as cat-scratch disease or felinosis, is an infectious condition caused by the infection of a specific type of bacteria, Bartonella henselae.
This type of infection usually occurs when a cat with this type of bacteria causes a wound by biting or scratching. It can also be picked up when a cat with this bacteria simply licks a person’s open wound.
Cats with Bartonella henselae are generally asymptomatic. Flea bites and flea dirt are the main reasons why cats pick up the infection. Cats that scratch and bite at fleas may pick up infected fleas and flea dirt, and may similarly pick up the infection by fighting other infected cats.
If you’ve been scratched or bitten by a cat, chances are that you have nothing to worry about, as not everyone will need medical intervention. However, there are some of the symptoms that you should be on the lookout for if you suspect you’ve contracted cat-scratch disease. Symptoms usually start to present 3 to 14 days after being infected:
- Often, the first symptom is a blister or sore where you’ve been bitten or scratched.
- Low grade fever
- Lack of appetite
- The lymph nodes in the infected area may become swollen.
- Very rare but serious cases of CSD can cause issues with the bones, joints, or internal organs of affected people. This usually happens in young children and people with weakened immune systems.
Contact your doctor or other healthcare provider if you are concerned that you have contracted cat-scratch fever. Doctors will generally only test for and treat this disease if it is severe or if the patient has a weakened immune system. Most people will be able to overcome the disease without needing treatment. However, antibiotics will be prescribed in serious cases.
We do have some good news though: you don’t have to get rid of kitty to keep you and your family safe from cat-scratch fever. Here are some simple tips to help you stay safe:
- Be careful around stray cats. They spend more time outside and therefore have a higher chance of contracting fleas and Bartonella henselae.
- Wash your hands after petting or playing with your cat.
- If you’ve been scratched or bitten by kitty, rinse the area liberally with BluLyte Wound Care.
- Likewise, be sure to use BluLyte Wound Care to rinse any open wound or scab that your cat may have licked.
- Try not to play too rough with your cat, as this increases your chances of getting bitten or scratched.
- Trim kitty’s nails and be sure to use a vet-approved product to treat and get rid of fleas.
If you are concerned about picking up cat-scratch fever, preventative action should set your mind at ease. Be sure to maintain your cat’s hygiene and de-flea regime. Similarly, use BluLyte Wound Care to flush any wounds you and your family may pick up from a cat scratch or bite. You can learn more about the antimicrobial and wound healing properties of BluLyte Wound Care here.