How to Take Proper Care of Cat Bite Wounds
Most people probably don't realize how essential proper cat bite care
can be to staving off infection of the wound. In fact, compared with dog bites, cat bite care is much more essential since as many as 80% of cat bites may become infected without proper cat bite care versus only 3-18% of dog bites (according to LSU school of veterinary medicine).
The disparity in percentages is not due to dogs having cleaner mouths, but because of the fact that dog bites tend to inflict crushing wounds which are easier to clean than the deep puncture wounds typical of a cat bite. The deep puncture wounds of a cat bite can drive bacteria deep into the tissue and can cause dangerous infections, not just in the skin but in the bones, joints and tendons as well.
Proper cat bite care is essential, and it is very important to get to a doctor immediately if you notice redness and swelling around the bite because this could be a sign that a dangerous infection is setting in, and it should be tested and treated before the infection can spread to the rest of your body.
Cat bite care involves cleaning the wound as soon as possible to reduce your risk of infection. As soon as you can manage it after you are bitten, get yourself to a sink and scrub the bite with soap and warm water. It might hurt a lot to scrub the bite, but it will hurt a lot more if your bite becomes infected. Remove as much dirt and saliva as possible, and use an antiseptic solution like iodine if you have it available. Cover the cat bite with antibiotic ointment and then gauze and bandage the wound. You may need help if the bite is on your hand.
If you have a severe cat bite, care for it immediately and then get yourself to a doctor to seek treatment as soon as possible to minimize the risks of infection. The same goes for anyone with a compromised immune system or an increased risk of infection for any reason. If the cat was a wild animal, you may also need treatment for rabies, so get to your doctor as soon as possible.
Our advice for cat bite care might seem over the top, after all, it just looks like a small puncture wound when you are bit, right? The problem lies not in the size of the hole, but rather in the amount of bacteria that is driven deep down under your skin. That small hole might actually present the problem in itself since the bacteria is much harder to get out and since the wound might seal over at the top and cause an infection that is trapped within the skin. In fact, many cat bites to the hand require surgery to clean and close the wound properly. Cat bites should always be taken seriously, and cat bite care
should be a priority.