Cat’s bite wound should be treated by a veterinarian

Feline bites pose problems for cats and humans, writes veterinarian Marty Becker, because bacteria from a cat’s mouth can cause a serious infection. Cats bitten by another feline may need surgical and antibiotic treatment as well as drain placement by a veterinarian to completely clear the infection, Dr. Becker writes. Humans who are bitten by cats should thoroughly wash the area and be evaluated by a physician, he adds.

Q.  My cat got into a fight again and now he has an infection. I just can’t afford another trip to the vet. What can I do at home?

A.  You need to take your cat to the veterinarian, because cat bites can be very serious. After this issue is resolved, you can save money through prevention – and that means keeping your cat inside.

Why? Because this common feline health problem is often the result of a puncture wound, specifically a bite from another cat during a fight over territory or mates.

Nearly every free-roaming cat needs to see a veterinarian from time to time to have an abscess treated – and by “treated,” I mean surgically opened, flushed clean of debris, and sometimes temporarily held open by drains to let the wound heal with the help of time and some strong antibiotics.

A cat’s mouth is a nasty mix of bacteria, and once that bacteria gets punched into another cat’s body, the result will probably be an abscess. Think about it – bacteria being injected with two hypodermic needles (the cat’s fangs) into a perfect incubator (another cat’s 101-plus-degree body). The only possible outcome is infection.

That’s also why even relatively minor cat bites can become serious medical issues for humans, leading to hospitalization in some cases. Any time you’re bitten or scratched by an animal, you should wash the area immediately with soap and water, and have the wound checked out by your doctor.

– Dr. Marty Becker

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