What are the characteristics of the cat-scratch disease?
Cat-scratch injuries from a cat claw are even more frequent amongst cat owners than cat bite injuries. The most vulnerable areas for such injuries are hands, face and lower legs. Even if most of the cat-scratches will heal off after a few days, it is recommendable to take cat scratches very seriously.
The fresh cat scratch injury seen in the picture does not look very threatening but can provide a nasty hurting and burning sensation.
For concerned individuals it is however important to know that cat scratches bear two major risks:
- Risk of local infection, if one of the scratches reaches deeper into the skin
- Risk of contracting the cat-scratch disease
What should one do immediately after incurring cat scratches?
Cat scratches should not be touched with bare hands. If the injury occurred to a hand one should not attempt to suck the scratch wound. Wash off the affected area with an alcoholic solution instead, or at least use soap to wash it out.
If available, it is recommendable to us a disinfectant spray for cutaneous use to clean out the cat-scratch wound. (As pet owner it is advisable to always keep a disinfectant in the house!)
Smaller skin wounds will stop bleeding on their own within few minutes.
Each scratch wound inflicted by a cat requires close monitoring. If after a few days the reddening around the scratch-injured area is larger than seen in the picture, it is recommendable to seek medical advice.
How do you know that your cat scratch progressed into a cat-scratch disease?
The first symptoms of the cat-scratch disease are reddish-brownish blisters around the scratch wound.