Felines’ sharp teeth can inject harmful bacteria deep into joints and tissue, doctors warn.
Cat bites may look less serious than dog bites, but beware: They can cause dangerous infections, particularly when they involve the hand, new research indicates.
Although cats have no more germs in their mouths than dogs or people, researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that when cats bite, their sharp teeth can inject hard-to-treat bacteria deeply into the skin and joints, increasing the risk for serious infection.
Dogs’ teeth are blunter, so they don’t tend to penetrate as deeply and they tend to leave a larger wound after they bite. Cats’ teeth are sharp and can penetrate very deeply. They can seed bacteria in the joint and tendon sheaths.
It can be just a pinpoint bite mark that can cause a real problem, because the bacteria get into the tendon sheath or into the joint where they can grow with relative protection from the blood and immune system.
Researchers studied nearly 200 cat bite cases that occurred between 2009 and 2011. The patients involved in the study were all bitten on the hand. The average of the participants was 49 years old, and 69 percent were women.
About half the patients […]