Sunday, December 27, 2015

Cat Scratch Treatment / When to Get Medical Care

Since 1999 I have been trapping feral, stray and abandoned cats for veterinarian care. During that entire time I did not get scratched. But on December 10th 2014 I was scratched with puncture wound to my hand by my own cat.  
A photo by Susan Golis

I immediately cleaned the deep scratch wound with hydrogen peroxide and carefully removed the claw. I remember thinking that this is bad and will probably get infected. My six month old feral kitten was up to date with all of her vaccines but I was still worried about infection due to the deep puncture wound caused by the claw close to my fingers joint and tendon. Know that this area is great place for growing bacteria.

I took the cat scratch seriously and soaked my hand three times daily with Epsom salt and then cleaned the wound with hydrogen peroxide. Did not cover with bandage and hoped for the best. Within 7 days I had symptoms of infection and I did not ignore them. The area where the cat scratch occurred appeared red and swollen with pain and I had difficulty moving my hand. I went to urgent medical care.

Sure enough I had a cat bacteria infection in my joint and tendon. The physician told me to continue soaking my hand in hot Epsom bath three times a day and to keep hand elevated. He prescribed and antibiotic Amoxiclin and Clavulanate potassium tablets. Amoxiclin and clavulante is an antibiotic in the group of drugs called penicillin this medicine fights bacteria in the body.

I took the medication for five days and on the 6th day the pain and swelling had lessened. There was still redness with white blisters where infection resides. It took five additional days for my hand to heal.  I was happy because hand surgery was not be needed to remove bacteria from my hand.

Know that if you handle cats as a rescue, or if you socialize feral cats then any scratches that you get must be taken seriously, clean the scratch immediately and watch for infection. Since my hand infection I have made a point to wear heavy leather gloves. I keep the gloves in my pocket and put them on whenever I am handling cats.
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