Felines are carriers of many bacterial and viral diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Bites, scratches, and contact with bodily fluids are ways humans can get infected. Cats, like dogs, are carriers that can cause infections, diseases, allergies, and fever. Have any idea about What is cat scratch fever? Cat scratch infection is one such infection that cats can cause. It is, therefore, essential to be aware of the precautions, symptoms, and treatments for cat fever.
What is Cat Scratch Fever?
Cat scratch fever is a bacterial infection that occurs when a kitten scratches, bites, or licks open wounds of a person. It happens when the cat is infected with bacteria termed Bartonella henselae. The infection is not a very severe complication, but if they do not do well with the Bartonella henselae treatment, it can create fatal conditions for a person with a weak immune system. The reports by the disease control and prevention center have proven that every year, many people come in contact with infected cats, leading to cat scratch disease. They, therefore, advised cat owners to take proper preventive measures to avoid it.
What Causes Cat Scratch Fever?
Ever wondered what causes cat scratch fever? Felines are the primary carriers of Bartonella Henselae bacteria in their saliva and under their claws. Cats get infected with these bacteria through infected fleas or while coming in contact with other cats who are already having these bacteria. Kittens are considered the major contributors to this disease and tend to carry this bacteria for most of their lifetime. They mainly recorded fever in autumn and winter when cats tend to give birth and humans remain close to their cat pets in closed houses.
What are the Cat Scratch Disease Symptoms?
Cat scratch infection usually starts with a blister over the bitten or scratched area, which develops into swollen lymph nodes and mild fever. The symptoms of cat scratch fever can last four months in young individuals and, if not treated well, can turn into a severe fever, which has been seldom recorded in the cases. Thus, some of the notable cat scratch disease symptoms are:
- Blisters turn into bumps on the infected site.
- Swollen lymph nodes nearby the infected side.
- Mild fever (which is above 98.6°F but below 100.4°F )
- Body aches
- Loss of appetite
It is essential to understand that the symptoms take time to develop and can persist for several weeks with mild effects. Swollen lymph nodes might appear late in specific individuals, typically two to three after infection. Cat scratch disease can lead to joint pain, swollen eyes, and increased heart rate in rare conditions. It usually happens with a weak immune system and young age.
Cat Scratch Fever Treatment
The diagnosis procedure is simple. One should consult a doctor after getting scratched or bitten by a cat. Doctors usually look for possible symptoms and undertake blood tests to determine whether one is infected with fever. The other possible diagnosis is by taking a sample of lymphatic tissue since it’s the primary site of infection.
The treatment procedure for fever is simple and easy to follow. In many cases, the disease disappears by itself, but in other cases, the doctor may prescribe medicines. Azithromycin is one of the crucial drugs to decrease the swelling and intensity of lymph node volume. Other common cat scratch fever antibiotics which are usually prescribed are:
- Tetracycline (Sumycin)
- Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra)
Other than over-the-counter medicines, a heat press reduces the swelling in infected areas, and painkillers are also used to mellow down the pain.
When Should I Call the Doctor to Treat Kitten Scratch Fever?
Cat scratch disease usually doesn’t turn into severe complications, but in rare circumstances owing to poor health conditions, weak immunity, or unknown causes, rare problems like joint pain and infection in the liver, lung, and spleen can occur. Following are the situations when one should consult a doctor to avoid any health hazard.
- If the cat bites or scratches the area, it doesn’t heal, gets worse, or gets numb.
- Persistent high fever for days.
- Unbearable pain
- Accumulation of puss near the infected area
- Bone or joint pain which persists for more than 3 days
- Severe vomiting or diarrhea
How Can you Prevent Cat Scratch Fever?
One can prevent getting infected with cat fever through behavioral measures related to the hygiene and cleanliness of the cat and the owners.
They can follow the following steps to prevent fever:
- Regular checkups of cats and kittens to avoid any cats infections.
- Keep the house and surrounding clean around the cat to control the menace of fleas
- Keep the children and kids away from cats, which can bite or scratch them
- Don’t tease the cat or provoke it to bite or scratch you
- Keep the cat clean through regular baths and combing
- Avoid contact with feral and infected cats
- Wash hands with soap after playing with cats and kittens
- Keep the nails of cats short and clean( You can use cat nail clippers available in market)
- Use flea combs to control the menace
Cat scratch infection isn’t a deadly disease. They can easily avoid it, and proper precautions and timely treatment are advised.
Yes. Both kittens and cats are carriers of the bacteria which cause cat scratch disease/kitten scratch fever.
Cat scratch fever occurs through the exchange of fluids. Any open wounds, cuts, and scars in contact with a cat’s saliva can transmit the bacteria and cause cat scratch disease.
The most common symptoms include fever and swollen lymph nodes that develop 1–3 weeks after exposure.
Yes. They can prevent it by maintaining the proper hygiene of pet cats, avoiding contact with feral cats, and taking preventive measures against fleas.
Cat scratch fever is a severe infection caused by a cat’s scratch or bite. If you think you might have a fever, you must see a doctor immediately to get the treatment you need. In most cases, cat scratch decease is treatable with antibiotics. With prompt treatment, most people fully recover from cat scratch infection and don’t experience any long-term effects.