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Cat Bites Might Lead to Surgery, Study Find

Update Date: Feb 10, 2014 09:47 AM EST

A person if bit by a cat on hand might get hospitalized in need of a surgery, a new study has found. 

The study that considered 193 victims of cat bite from January 2009 to 2011 has found that one out of three people who sought treatment for a cat bite to the hand were hospitalized. More than 60 percent of them were hospitalized due to required surgery to flush out the infections in the wounds. 

"The bites lead to serious infections that can require multiple hospitalizations, antibiotics and sometimes surgery," said Brian Carlsen, a researcher on the study and orthopedic surgeon at Mayo Clinic, according to Detroit Free Press

Carlsen added that cat's fangs penetrate the skin and pushed bacteria deep into joints and tissue that causes infection. He said most of the people to ignore this as they seem so small but they can lead to a myriad of complications if left untreated. 

According to a victim of cat bite on hand, it turned out to an eight week stay at hospital with $150,000 in medical bills. "I washed the wounds on my wrist and put antiseptic on them," said victim Dawn Bothun, of Minnesota, according to Detroit Free Press. "I thought I could manage them on my own but I couldn't move my wrist after a week."

"The infection from the cat bite reached my tendon," Bothun said. "Every time they would stitch me up after flushing the wound the infection would just get worse. The pain almost drove me up the wall."

The study also pointed that middle-aged women were the most common bite victims. 

"A bite on the thigh probably isn't an issue because the cat probably just bites the fat," Carlsen said. "When the cat bites the hand, the joints and tendons are protected with fluid and there is no circulation so bacteria can grow like crazy, making treatment longer in some case."

"It may look like a pin prick, but rule of thumb go see a doctor if a cat bites your hand," Carlsen added. 

The study is published in the Journal of Hand Surgery.

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