Categories: cat bites

Bacterial infection: cat bites versus human bites

Human bites can be as bad as cat bites when it comes to bacterial infections so we should not brand the domestic cat as being endowed with mouth bacteria which surpasses all other species, which I think is a tendency.

Human bites can be bad as cat bites on bacterial infections. I have chosen this benign picture because the real ones are horrible. Humans do more damage than cats when biting seriously.

Dogs far outstrip cats and humans on the number of bites. I am not sure why it seems that the infection rate for cat bites appears higher than for human bites. But the statistics are vague. It may be due to a reason other than the amount of bacteria in the mouths of cats e.g. parents not treating cat bites in the same way as human bites.

It is estimated that 250,000 human bites, 400,000 cat bites, and 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year in both adults and children…..In the United States, approximately 10% of all human bites will become infected in a child with a bite wound. The infection rate of dog bites in children is 20%. Cat bite infection rates in children vary but can be up to 50%.

Cats have canine teeth and I would argue that they are more likely to puncture our skin and, in addition, cats are more likely to bite (in play or because of transferred aggression) than humans because it is an inherited trait. The human bite can puncture skin but it is the incisors which do it and there is less bite force at the tip of incisors compared to the pointed canine teeth of humans.

The advice to doctors in prophylactic treatment (treatment after a bite intended to prevent infection) is very similar for cat and human bites. The difference in the type of antibiotic used. This must reflect the differences in the type of bacteria in the mouths of cats and humans.

Cat bites

Prescribe prophylactic oral antibiotics for: All cat bites; animal bites to the hand, foot, and face and genitalia; puncture or crush wounds; wounds requiring surgical debridement; wounds involving bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, or suspected fractures; bites on limbs with impaired circulation.”

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Treatment of an infected dog or cat bite, prescribe co-amoxiclav for seven days. For adults who are allergic to penicillin, prescribe metronidazole plus doxycycline for seven days (for children under 12 years old who are allergic to penicillin, seek advice from a microbiologist).

Human bites

Prescribe prophylactic oral antibiotics for all human bite wounds under 72 hours old, even if there is no sign of infection.”

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Treatment for infected human bite: prescribe co-amoxiclav for seven days. For people who are allergic to penicillin, prescribe metronidazole plus clarithromycin for seven days.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. Some people have insulted me homophobically by saying I am gay. I am not. I have had a girlfriend for more than 20 years.

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