Mayo Clinic researchers weigh in on cat bite dangers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. Roughly 20 percent of the victims suffer sufficient injuries to require medical treatment. Far too often, those who suffer injury are children. Children comprise about half of the dog bite victims who need medical attention.

A person can suffer significant injuries from a dog bite. The CDC says that in 2012, more than 27,000 dog bite victims required reconstructive surgery during the treatment following an attack.

People in the Worcester, Massachusetts, area may know that dogs a dog’s teeth can inflict a great deal of damage. It is not unheard of for animal attack victims to suffer fatal injuries. But dogs are not the only animals that can bite a human. A recent study says that cat bites can lead to significant health issues for a victim.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic say that about one in three people bitten by a cat need medical treatment at the hospital, according to the International Business Times. The issue in many of these cases may not seem as gruesome as the damage that can occur in a dog attack, but the researchers say that the risk of infection can be significant.

One woman in the Midwest waited a week before seeking treatment for a cat bite. She says that after finally going to the hospital, she was in-and-out of the facility for a period of about eight weeks getting treatment for the infection.

A surgeon at the Mayo Clinic says that the nature and shape of a cat’s teeth can allow for deep penetration. He says that bacteria can be pushed deep into tissues and tendons that can result in serious infections. Patients may need surgery to treat the infection.

Source: International Business Times, "Cat Bites Worse Than Dog Bites? ‘Pinprick’ Injuries Can ‘Seed Bacteria’ And Cause Serious Infections," Zoe Mintz, Feb. 10, 2014