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Published On: Thu, Feb 6th, 2014

Cat bites: 33% of hand bite victims require hospitalization: Study

NEWS RELEASE

Dogs  aren’t the only pets who sometimes bite the hands that feed them. Cats do too, and when they strike a hand, can inject bacteria deep into joints and tissue, perfect breeding grounds for infection. Cat bites to the hand are so dangerous, 1 in 3 patients with such wounds had to be hospitalized, a Mayo Clinic study covering three years showed. Two-third of those hospitalized needed surgery. Middle-aged women were the most common bite victims, according to the research, published in the Journal of Hand Surgery.

Public domain image/Jon Sullivan

Public domain image/Jon Sullivan

Why are cat bites to the hand so dangerous? It’s not that their mouths have more germs than dogs’ mouths — or people’s, for that matter. Actually, it’s all in the fangs.

Related story: Infections you can get from domestic cats

“The dogs’ teeth are blunter, so they don’t tend to penetrate as deeply and they tend to leave a larger wound after they bite. The cats’ teeth are sharp and they can penetrate very deeply, they can seed bacteria in the joint and tendon sheaths,” says senior author Brian Carlsen, M.D., a Mayo Clinic plastic surgeon and orthopedic hand surgeon.

“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,” Dr. Carlsen adds.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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