Cat Scratch Fever

Siberian cat (12 weeks) in front of a white background

No, that catchy song by Ted Nugent is not about a cat attack! The real deal recently happend when a friend’s kitten climbed my bare legs like I was a palm tree! The results were traumatic – a series of long gashes that turned angry red and started to puff out. The innocent pet had already leapt onto the sofa, but if you have ever been scratched then you know how much it can hurt!

 Yes, there IS something worse than a paper cut… a cat scratch! Why? The claws of a kitty contain any number of bacteria from digging around in their cat litter box. If you get scratched from playful frolicking or an attack kitty, make sure to use a disinfectant on the wound like alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. There is an actual cat scratch disease caused by the bacteria Bartonella henselae. Symptoms include:Lump at site of injury (usually the first sign)
Fever (occasionally)
Lymph node swelling near the site of the scratch or bite
Overall discomfort
Not as frequently,sore throat, loss of appetite, or weight loss may occur.If you are scratched, first determine how deep the cut is – usually a cat scratch does not need stitches. After a couple days, if your lymph nodes swell up, visit your health care provider and they can test you for cat scratch disease. The physical exam may reveal an enlarged spleen, or an infected lymph node as well. Since it is hard to diagnose, a Bartonella henselae IFA blood test is an option, along with a lymph node biopsy. At the end of the doctor visit, patients with severe cases are given antibiotics. The treatment may include any of the following antibiotics: asazithromycin, clarithromycin, rifampin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, orciprofloxacin. Right now in August all the way through to October is when cat scratch fever is most common in northern temperate zones. There are an estimated 22,000 new cases of CSD per year in the United States (Jackson, Perkins, Wenger).
In my case, the kitten had not had all her shots yet so I opted to have several tests done. The results were negative for CAT SCRATCH FEVER… however, later that evening I had a strong urge to yeowl at the full moon…

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