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Posted: 7/10/2009 8:04:49 AM EST
Short story. On Monday my wife took one of our cats to the vet for irritable bowel syndrome. Unfortunately, the only vet tech available couldn't handle the cat on the examination table and she asked my wife to help hold the cat still.

My wife placed her right hand at the scruff of the cat's neck, after which our cat reached back and bit her on the right index finger between the knuckle and first joint. Wife showed up at my office a little pissed wielding an upset cat (in pet carrier) and complaining of the bite to her finger. The vet had bandaged it for her.

That night she complained of localized pain and I observed some swelling. She has a fairly low tolerance for pain, so my standard reply is/was "rub a little dirt on it, it'll be better in the morning".

On Tuesday she had a doctor's appointment for foot pain (she owns a dance studio). Doctor glanced at her hand and proptly forgot about the foot. X-ray showed that the infection was moving up her arm along the tendon. Orthopedist splinted the finger/hand/wrist, perscribed heavy dose of Cipro and told her to come back in the morning.

The next morning we drove to the doctor. Doc unwraps the arm at which point I noticed my wife's finger from first joint to the palm area was swollen to ~3x natural size.

Immediately moved to surgical center where general anesthesia was admin'd, 2" incisions made along bite area into upper palm, debrided, drained, tendon scraped, irrigated, stitched up. She's on heavy dose of Cipro, Lorotab for pain, Phenergan for nausea.

She'll survive (obviously), but we're both a bit wiser to the common oral flora ALL house cats carry in their saliva. Our cat isn't diseased, this is something all cats carry.

Keep in mind that not all bites will result in this, but heavy bites to the fingers and around finger joints are especially problematic due to descreased bloodflow to the area. Less bloodflow allows bacteria to set to work rather quickly.

I hate doctors and don't take antibiotics. In this particular instance my wife, by accident, made a wise decision to see one. It may have saved her hand and other related severe health problems.

Just an FYI folks.

Take Care,
Rob
Link Posted: 7/10/2009 8:18:34 AM EST
Glad they caught it. I hope your wife has a speedy recovery.


I would say that this is just another reason not to have one of the nasty bastards but that would sound negative.

Link Posted: 7/10/2009 8:26:40 AM EST
I went through this a couple years ago, no serious infection though. There is a particular antibiotic that is recommended for cat bites.
Link Posted: 7/10/2009 8:32:15 AM EST
Always take an animal bite seriously.
Especially from a carnivore and that includes Homo sapiens.
Link Posted: 7/10/2009 8:43:56 AM EST
human bites are the worst, followed by cats, then everything else.

It is standard protocol for antibiotics for any human or feline bite. The fact that the vet bandaged it without recommending antibiotics is surprising
Link Posted: 7/10/2009 8:55:02 AM EST
Originally Posted By rob78:Our cat isn't diseased, this is something all cats carry.

Cat bites often turn ugly (scratches, not so much); the teeth usually deposit the germs deep into the bite.

I hate doctors and don't take antibiotics.

Okay.

Link Posted: 7/10/2009 9:41:35 AM EST
Pics or I call Bravo Siera!
Link Posted: 7/10/2009 9:58:58 AM EST
Originally Posted By Blackbird_Pilot:
Glad they caught it. I hope your wife has a speedy recovery.


I would say that this is just another reason not to have one of the nasty bastards but that would sound negative.



Not a cat fan, but the biter has grown on me over the years. Doesn't make the wife any happier that the cat, who only likes me, was the one who caused the problem

Link Posted: 7/10/2009 10:01:52 AM EST
Originally Posted By David14:
Originally Posted By rob78:Our cat isn't diseased, this is something all cats carry.

Cat bites often turn ugly (scratches, not so much); the teeth usually deposit the germs deep into the bite.

I hate doctors and don't take antibiotics.

Okay.



Hate is a particularly strong term (one of my best friends is dermatologist). Let's say that I have a particular distate for hospitals. My personal opinion is that anti-biotics are over-prescribed, leading to many of the problems we see today (particularly nasty, very hardy "bugs"). Problem is, I tend to write off injuries as "not too bad" as a result. Had my wife listened to me, we might've run into much more serious problems.

Link Posted: 7/10/2009 10:07:15 AM EST
Originally Posted By fish223:
human bites are the worst, followed by cats, then everything else.

It is standard protocol for antibiotics for any human or feline bite. The fact that the vet bandaged it without recommending antibiotics is surprising


Yeah, he told her be sure to excercise the apendage "to create more bloodflow in the tendon/bite area". He also told her it was "nothing serious, [we] get bitten here all the time" and "it'll heal on its own soon".

Orthopedist told her 1) it is serious 2) immobilize the finger/wrist 3) always see a doctor after an animal bite.

Cat bites are particularly bad since the teeth are very sharp, very thin, and therefore tend to seal up reducing bleeding and consequently sealing in bacteria. Dog bites, while serious, don't tend to become infected as easily (larger holes, more bleeding, more tearing as opposed to in-and-out puncture).

Link Posted: 7/10/2009 10:17:56 AM EST
I had a cat bite me and it did the same thing, same everything except different antibiotics. I guess sometimes you sould run to the doctor instead of hiding from him. Took 10 days to quit leaking puss out of my knuckle and another 2 weeks for it to look normal.
Link Posted: 7/10/2009 10:19:17 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/10/2009 10:20:34 AM EST by rob78]
Originally Posted By Scrap5000:
Pics or I call Bravo Siera!


you're in luck. I don't post pics of my wife on the interweb, but here's one I altered.

she wasn't a happy camper at this point. Just waking up in recovery room.

ETA: nah, better not
Link Posted: 7/10/2009 6:11:40 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/10/2009 6:12:27 PM EST by David14]
Originally Posted By rob78:
Hate is a particularly strong term (one of my best friends is dermatologist). Let's say that I have a particular distate for hospitals.
You & I have that in common (and I get to see the inside of one every workday –– lucky me ).
Originally Posted By rob78:My personal opinion is that anti-biotics are over-prescribed, leading to many of the problems we see today (particularly nasty, very hardy "bugs").
You are 100% correct on that, sir.

Hope the wife is recuperating!
Link Posted: 7/10/2009 7:19:27 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/10/2009 7:20:55 PM EST by rlarge10]
same thing happened to my sister when she was little. parents caught it before it required surgery, but she was hospitalized over night and pumped full of antibiotics. the doctor explained cat bites are bad because their teeth are like nasty little hypodermic needles. they push the bacteria down into your body where it can't get out, whereas a dog rips when it bites, so the wound can be cleaned.
Link Posted: 7/11/2009 10:19:15 AM EST
I know one person who lost half a finger from a cat, and my step-father came close because he was convinced he didn't need to see a doctor. I have never seen such a disgusting infection. It swelled up to kielbasa size and just oozed and oozed.

Any bites or scratches I get on fingers or toes get blasted with soap, hot water, and neosporin as soon as possible. I'm paranoid now.
Link Posted: 7/11/2009 10:51:23 AM EST
My wife got several bites/deep scratches from one of our cats last week when my BIL's Doberman took after the cat and she intervened.


Immediate irrigation of the wounds, antibiotic ointment, bandages and epsom salt soaks healed the wounds up in a few days without a trip to the hospital. Of course at the 1st sign of redness or swelling she would have gone to the hospital, cat bites are a bitch.

Link Posted: 7/11/2009 10:56:46 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/11/2009 10:58:34 AM EST by KS_Physicist]
I hate doctors and don't take antibiotics.


ETA: N/M, I saw your explanation. I agree on the antibiotics––but I do take them when I need to.
Link Posted: 7/24/2009 10:21:09 AM EST
I've had two cat's (never one of mine) bite through my hand and never had anything like this happen.
Link Posted: 7/24/2009 11:29:12 AM EST
Originally Posted By StewartTR:
I've had two cat's (never one of mine) bite through my hand and never had anything like this happen.


I've had one of ours bite me and nothing like this happened either.

IIRC, I too was bitten on the hand.

Just thought I'd put this out there in case others on the board weren't so fortunate.

The wife got her stitches out several days ago. Little bit of swelling, finger is stiff as a board, but she'll survive.

Link Posted: 7/24/2009 12:52:48 PM EST

Originally Posted By StewartTR:
I've had two cat's (never one of mine) bite through my hand and never had anything like this happen.

Most people who get bit by brown recluse spiders don't end up with massive necrotic wounds either, but it happens often enough that you should err on the side of caution when it happens. Cat bites (and scratches, because they dig around in their litter box) are a similar situation.

Better to spend a few minutes cleaning the bite than ending up losing a finger, because it does happen.
Link Posted: 7/24/2009 3:33:38 PM EST
three weeks ago, there was a stray on my back porch when i let my dogs out......... the cat went after my dogs and i got in between. picked the cat up by the scruff and my other hand on its back (that was a mistake). little bastard latched onto my hand an i tried to pry its mouth open with my left hand wich was around its neck and put a tooth through my left index finger on the side. right through it. but my right hand got like 5 good punctures all the way down to the tendon.

i wasn't gonna go to the hospital till i went on line and looked how to treat a cat bite and about 4 hours later i started to get pain going up my arm. by the time i saw the doc, they had my hands soaking in iodine/saline for a half hour then irrigated the wounds , gave me a tetinus shot (hate those) and vicoden for the pain and ten days of augmentin.

its been about 3 weeks plus and my right ring finger still hurts a little if i try to make a fist. bottom line, cat bites are no joke and suck ass.
Link Posted: 7/28/2009 4:00:24 AM EST
Been bitten and scratched many times. Never had an issue.
Link Posted: 7/30/2009 10:34:49 AM EST
Interesting note.

Stiffness in finger still an issue. Finger was resplinted to straighten it out. Probably due to partial tendon removal.

Hospital charged my insurance $14,325 for outpatient nothing (anesthesiologist and surgeon paid separately).

My costs will total somewhere around $1,700.

Cat is one step closer to an untimely demise...
Link Posted: 7/30/2009 12:29:40 PM EST
I have said this a dozen times. When handling angry pussy wear your gloves!

Link Posted: 8/2/2009 4:50:02 AM EST
Originally Posted By Stormcrow190:
I have said this a dozen times. When handling angry pussy wear your gloves!

http://www.mig-welding.co.uk/safety/welding-gloves.jpg



Don't count on welding gauntlets to work, I was getting a feral kitten - as in a 6-8 week old kitten still with its mother - out of a friend's garage and that little sucker's teeth went right through those gloves and into my finger. Then it started crying at an ear-piercing level and mama cat ran over to the door, looking ready to kick my ass.

Moral of the story? Let the cat come out of the garage on its own.
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