Cats and kittens are fascinating animals. But spare your belongings and your household companions from scratches and serious illnesses. The playful character of cats and kittens will surely make them playmate and neighboring things prone to these. Those who have lived with cats and especially kittens will know how common it is to be scratched and bitten by a playful pet.
Most owners will minimize the risks, because in their experience nothing bad has ever come of a cat scratch. However, if people are better informed of the risks, they would not necessarily take these injuries so lightly. More than half all cat bites result in infection of some kind, most commonly from the Pasteurella multocida bacteria, which form part of the normal flora of cats. A local infection, at the site of the wound only, can lead to swelling or the formation of pus. This in itself is not always dangerous, but may lead to complications, perhaps with the joints becoming infected, or even the whole lymphatic system being invaded. Clearly those more at risk to such forms of infection are the very young, the elderly or those with suppressed immunosufficiency, such as cancer patients on medication and AIDS sufferers.
Cat scratch disease is an infectious illness associated with cat scratches, bites, or exposure to cat saliva. The bacteria Afipia felis and Bartonella henselae do not necessarily provoke symptoms in the carrier cat. Complications resulting from bacterial infections can lead to worse cases not only where the skin has been torn. CSD is perhaps the most common cause of chronic lymph node swelling in children, a feverous infection lasting up to two months.
Children under nine years of age are especially vulnerable to scratches and bites in the face and neck regions, most especially from kittens, which happen to be the most likely carriers of the Bartonella henselae group of organisms. It is suggested that children should not be allowed to play too roughly with kittens -- immediately wash with soap and warm water any scratches or bites. Osteomyelitis or septic arthritis from cat bites is not uncommon.
Since synovial capsules of the joints are usually completely sterile, infection at these points is extremely painful and very harmful. Osteomyelitis and septic arthritis can affect any joint or bone, but most commonly involve the lower limbs. Both are most commonly caused by Staphylococcus aureus and require urgent treatment. The initial symptoms are tenderness and an unwillingness to use the joint or limb in question.
Swelling and redness do not necessarily appear straight away. Some authorities claim that fleas carry B. henselae bacteria, but the evidence is not conclusive. Nevertheless, it makes sense to keep fleas in check to guard against unnecessary risks.
Cat saliva is where the bacteria come from thus cats should never be allowed to lick any wounds you or your child may have. Consult your physician at the first signs of symptoms such as pustules, swelling, fatigue, headache, fever or swollen glands caused by cat bites and scratches should be.
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