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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Animal Bites


These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Infection Post-Cat Bite [posted 10/13/98]
Question: I was working at a animal hospital for about 6 months and I got bitten on my hand by a stray cat, for which I received tetanus shot. Shortly after, a rash appeared on my finger in the same area of the bite. It is very thick like it makes my skin feel rough. There are tiny blisters under the skin with water inside. It really itches a lot, and lasts 1-2 weeks, then reoccurs every month. I often can't stand the itching and I burst the blisters and after that it dries up and goes away. Please tell me what this is, I went to a doctor but it was drying up, so he could not identify it.

Answer: Sounds like herpetic whitlow. This is a viral infection that keeps reoccuring. I'd get it cultured the next time it starts-start with viral cultures. It could also be a chronic fungal infection;but, these would be less common.

Cat Bite and Treatment [posted 8/13/98]
Question: How would you treat a patient with a cat bite (7 puncture wounds) on the forearm. What medication would you prescribe and why? You are seeing the patient 15-minutes after the bite occurred.

Answer: Insure their tetanus is up to date and antibiotics - usually amoxicillin or something similar to get the potential anaerobes of a stiletto type puncture typical of a cat fang. Tetracycline or erythromycin is used in the penicillin allergic patient.


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