Daily Bolus of LR: Cat Bites

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April 21, 2011 by dailybolusoflr

Cat Bites compromise up to about 15% of all animal bites (the majority are dog bites).


·         These bites are typically “puncture” type wounds

o   This is problematic due to the long thin nature of the cat’s teeth which deposit bacteria deep into the tissue

o   These wound can also penetrate bone or tendon sheaths and lead to tenosynovitis, osteomyelitis and deep tissue infection

·         They should not be closed primarily due to the high risk of infection

·         The most common offending organism is Pasturella multocida

o   If infection occurs, it is usually rapidly progressing within 12-24 hours of inoculation from the penetration of the teeth

o   Prophylactic antibiotics should be given for patients who sustain cat bites: good choices include augmentin, cefuroxime and doxycycline

·         Wounds should be well irrigated

·         Tetanus should be updated

·         Plain radiography should be obtained to evaluate for foreign bodies (usually teeth fragments) or bony fractures (less likely in cats than in dogs)


Linda Regan, MD FACEP

Program Director, Emergency Medicine Residency

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions


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