How serious can cat bites be?


Quick Answer

Cat bites are serious because of the high risk of infection, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. Cats' teeth cause deep puncture wounds, leading to bacterial infection of the underlying tissue.

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Full Answer

Cat bites commonly transmit Pasteurella bacteria, states VCA Animal Hospitals. An infection of these bacteria causes swelling and inflammation. If left untreated, Pasteurella can spread through the area around the bite, causing cellulitis, or through the body, causing septicemia, also known as blood poisoning.

Immunocompromised patients are more likely to develop infection following cat bites, but WebMD recommends all cat bite victims to seek medical attention.

Pet cats are not likely to have rabies, according to WebMD, but a bitten person should consult the cat's owner to determine its vaccination status if possible. The doctor may recommend postexposure rabies treatment and a tetanus booster in addition to wound treatment and antibiotics.

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