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bitten by stray cat
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hotkatt posted:
I've recently been bitten by a stray cat and one of my fingers is now swollen. I've been to the doctor and had it checked out and he gave me antibiotics to take and some cream to put on it. But now its 2 days later and my other hand is starting to get all itchy on the back of it. Is there something wrong or is this normal? I've been bitten by a cat before and nothing like this happened! I'm starting to worry!
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Byroney_WebMD_Staff responded:
Howdy hotkatt!

Here's a discussion from a couple of months ago on Cat Bites . You did the right thing by seeing your doctor, however if the injury is looking worse, please get checked out again. It's possible you may need a different antibiotic or treatment. Go ahead and mention the itchiness, too.

Let us know how you're doing,

Byroney
Every dog has his day - but the nights are reserved for the cats ~ Unknown
 
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Home2strays responded:
the itchiness could be an issue with the bite or it could be an allergic reaction starting from the a.b. cat bites are notorious for getting infected so for next time be sure to immediately SCRUB it to get as much bacteria off as possible asap. For now be sure , if its a deep puncture, that the top doesnt scab over before the inside starts healing and go see your doc.
 
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srstephanie responded:
Hi Hotkatt,

You've been given good advice about the bite. Cats have normal bacteria in their mouth that can make some people quite sick, so if the bite wound gets worse, you should definitely get it checked quickly. I know of a number of people who have been hospitalized after a simple cat bite, but responded well to IV antibiotics. If it is your other hand (i.e. the one without the bite) that is now itching, it might be an allergic reaction to the medication ... or, something totally unrelated. It would be a good idea to check with your doctor.

I don't want to be an alarmist or scare you ... but I'm concerned by your comment that you were bitten by a "stray cat". Do you still have the cat and/or know where it is ... and more importantly, its vaccination history? My concern is the possibility of Rabies. While the risk is probably pretty low and there are few cases of Rabies in humans each year in the US ... it is also true that there is more Rabies in cats than in dogs in the US. I would ask your doctor about it, if there is any possibility. The good news is that the post-exposure series of Rabies vaccinations isn't so bad anymore. I live in Quebec, Canada, and my parish priest had to go through the series a few years ago when a bat got in his home. The vaccinations were just given in his arm. Again, I don't want to scare you (and I'm sure it doesn't have anything to do with your itchy hand) ... but Rabies is not something you want to take a chance with.

Good luck and I hope all goes well.

Stephanie in Montreal
 
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marieh9 replied to srstephanie's response:
Hi Hotkatt,
I agree with the other posts. I want to add that yes I would worry some about rabies. The other thing cats and dogs (and humans) have a lot of bacteria in their mouths and whether it is "normal flora" to the animal the cats bites have about 10 various bacteria in them and their teeth are known to produce a bad punture wound which can harbor the bacteria that the teeth inject into the wound. Some of these bacteria are anaerobic (grow without oxygen) some grow in air or are aerobic. A lot of these bacteria will cause an infection. It is quite possible that the bite wound had more than one bacteria in it. So, the antibiotic you took orally, would perhaps be good to kill one or two bacteria but may not be good for the anaerobic bacteria or other bacteria that may be present. In addition, the bacteria be resistant to the antibiotic you took. So, yes you need to go to the doctor as soon as possible and get a more broad spectrum antibiotic that will kill off all bacteria that would be in the bite. The itch could be an allergy to the topical antibiotic or something else or a reaction to the bite itself. Definitely, bring up the issue of rabies. It is scary but something you need to make a decision on. The topical antibiotic will only keep the outer part of the wound from being infected but not the deeper part which probably has closed over by now. I would take this seriously.
Take care,
marieh9
 
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marieh9 replied to marieh9's response:
Hi Srstephanie, I didn't mean to respond to your post rather to Hotkatts;s post. I'll try again and I'm sorry about my mistake.
marieh9
 
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marieh9 responded:
Hi Hotkatt,
I agree with the other posts. I want to add that yes I would worry some about rabies. The other thing cats and dogs (and humans) have a lot of bacteria in their mouths and whether it is "normal flora" to the animal the cats bites have about an average of 10 various bacteria in them and their teeth are known to produce a bad punture wound which can harbor the bacteria that the teeth inject into the wound. Some of these bacteria are anaerobic (grow without oxygen) some grow in air or are aerobic. A lot of these bacteria will cause an infection. It is quite possible that the bite wound had more than one bacteria in it. So, the antibiotic you took orally, would perhaps be good to kill one or two bacteria but may not be good for the anaerobic bacteria or other bacteria that may be present. In addition, the bacteria be resistant to the antibiotic you took. So, yes you need to go to the doctor as soon as possible and get a more broad spectrum antibiotic that will kill off all bacteria that would be in the bite. The itch could be an allergy to the topical antibiotic or something else or a reaction to the bite itself. Definitely, bring up the issue of rabies. It is scary but something you need to make a decision on. The topical antibiotic will only keep the outer part of the wound from being infected but not the deeper part which probably has closed over by now. I would take this seriously.
Take care,
marieh9


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