immagine Morsi e graffi di animali: cosa fare e quali sono i rischi

bites and scratches of dogs and cats: risks and remedies

Animals know how to defend themselves in case of fear or threat thanks to their sharp claws and their strong powerful teeth that Mother Nature kindly gave them. However, it can happen that these powerful "weapons" might be used against us, with unease consequences to face up to. Lets further understand the risks and remedies in case of bites and scratches from animals. 

gatto graffia morde soffiaA vaccinated dog or cat living in our home is used to our presence throughout the day. They are used to being manipulated and touched with cuddles and kisses, they rarely decide to attack their owners. 

On the contrary, a stray animal might decide to do so if he feels threatened or disturbed from a child or an adult. It is also true that in some cases we are also chased by some of them when we run at the park or take a bike ride. 

In the same way, our domestic cat might interrupt all the cuddles and scratch us with its sharp claws. 

In these cases, it is not always enough for us to cover up the wound to prevent blood spill. It might be necessary to count on other more deep remedies. lets understand why:

what kind of risks are we facing?

An important aspect that many people don't take into consideration is the presence of bacteria in our dogs and cats mouth besides all the vaccinations made. Their mouth, as ours, contain a lot of bacteria that nestle on the teeth, gum and even in the tongue. 

If our skin is intact without any type of wounds or cuts, these bacteria from the mouth are simply washed away with some water and soup. The same thing happens when our dog or cat decides to lick our hand, we simply wash our hands afterwards. 

However, when our pet decides to actually bite us, the teeth penetrate our skin, creating deep wounds. This is the perfect entrance for the bacteria present in our pets mouth to enter our body. These bacteria come in contact with our blood and with the area around the cut. 

With the passage of time, the cut might come across infections, easily recognizable from a pungent odor, redness and swelling until you might even have some pus, fever or general problems around your body. 

malattia da graffio di gatto bartonella

In some particular cases, you might come across the "cat scratch disease". Just as the mouth, nails can also present a comfortable vehicle for bacteria to nestle. Normally, cat scratches and bites will heal by themselves within a couple days. 

However, it might also happen that some cats present a hidden infection from a specific bacteria, the Bartonella henselae

This bacteria is transmitted to the cat from fleas which carry the bacteria themselves. The Bartonella will pass through our cats bloodstream and might seem undisguised and present no symptoms for a long period of time. In some other cases, the cat might also come in contact with the infected flea feces. Therefore, the bacteria will remain trapped under our cats nails. 

And just like this, humans might come in contact with the Bartonella bacteria, through a cats scratch. 

Consequences to this bacteria are variable depending on the importance of the infection. Symptoms generally pop up after 3-5 days from the scratch. in the interested area of infection, you might come across a small pointed relief under the skin.

If the situation is not monitored, the relief might also become a pustule, with pus, redness and severe pain. At this point, the infection might progress towards lymph nodes from other parts of the body for example from our armpits, neck and groin (depending on the location of the scratch.) 

These might appear as big, painful and you might also experience fever, general unease, fatigue, articular pain and headache. 

Many people consider the dogs bite the most dangerous due to the risk of the Rhabdoviridae or Rabies. In reality, this viral infection is not a problem any more in our country. For which, the infections related to dogs and cats are more likely related to bacteria found in their mouth such as Staphylococci, Streptococci, Pasteurella Multocida. 

Remedies in case of bites or scratches 
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In these cases it is important to clean the interested scratch or bite area with warm water and neutral or delicate soap. Afterwards, apply appropriate disinfectants such as oxygenated water or iodine or chlorine based solutions.  

If the wound is too large or deep, it will be necessary to attain first aid medication in your local area, in order to evaluate the possibility of stitches. 

If the scratch or bite worsens within days, it might be necessary to assume a viral antibiotic. It is most likely to be a bacterial infection. 

Your doctor will be able to analyze the situation and prescribe the indicated therapy for the wound.

 Another separate case are bites from stray dogs on the streets. It is recommended to visit a specialized doctor in case of infection. After the doctor took care of the wound, he will have to report the episode to ASL and the dog will be kept under observation for 10 days to analyze its behavior.