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Cat Bites Can Cause Potentially Lethal Blood Poisoning

Posted on in Dog Bites

Winnebago County personal injury lawyerAlthough dogs get a bad rap for the dangerous injuries their bites can cause, they are far from being the only domestic critter whose bite can cause serious damage and even death to humans. Cat bites may not be as common as dog bites, but they can be just as damaging. Cats have harmful bacteria in their mouths and needle-sharp teeth that can deliver the bacteria to vulnerable body parts in just one quick bite. It is important to get cat bites checked and treated right away, and, if you or your child have been bitten by a cat, to speak with a personal injury professional who can help you determine whether you can hold the cat’s owner responsible for the personal injury and medical expenses. 

Cat Bite Infection Rates

Although domestic cats are usually vaccinated against serious diseases like rabies, studies suggest around 400,000 cat bites happen in the U.S. every year and around 50 percent of cat bites in children become infected. At first, an infected cat bite may only feel painful and appear red and swollen. If left untreated, however, the infection can spread and cause septicemia, or blood poisoning. Septicemia requires hospitalization and can even be fatal. 

What Germs Are in a Cat’s Mouth? 

Cats have a reputation for being clean animals, and perhaps compared to dogs that love to roll in smelly stuff, this is true. But cat mouths contain many types of bacteria that are dangerous to humans and which are easily trapped in a small puncture wound. These bacteria include, but are not limited to: 

  • Pasteurella multocida - Pasteurella multocida is the most common cause of soft tissue infection from dog and especially cat bites. When injected into soft human tissue, it can quickly spread and lead to invasive respiratory infections, as well as meningitis and endocarditis. 
  • Cat scratch disease - Also known as cat scratch fever, Bartonella henselae can be transmitted through bites, scratches, and sometimes even licks. 
  • Rabies - Rabies is rare but is almost always fatal in humans when left untreated. 
  • Tetanus - Tetanus is a nervous system disease caused by a bacteria called Clostridium tetani that appears almost exclusively in puncture wounds. Tetanus causes painful muscle contractions that can make it hard to open the mouth or swallow.  

Elderly people, infants, and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk from the germs contained in cat bites. For example, people with diabetes are at particular risk of cat bite infections leading to limb loss or death. 

Speak with a Winnebago County Animal Bite Injury Attorney

Animal injuries can have serious and life-threatening effects. If you have been injured by a cat bite and want to find out whether the owner can be held responsible for your medical expenses and suffering, call the Rockford cat bite injury attorneys with Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of KJS at 815-215-7561 to schedule a free consultation. We have the resources and experience to conduct a thorough investigation and make sure you get the compensation you deserve. 





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