Cats are cute, especially kittens. Many people keep one or more cats as pets and let them sleep in their rooms at night. To paraphrase Clint Eastwood, you have to ask yourself: do you feel lucky, well, right? You are asleep in bed, lying on your side when your cat jumps and a claw causes a 2-inch laceration on the upper left eyelid. The wound is bleeding profusely and when you get ready to go to work, you notice purple discoloration and swelling of the eyelid. What is your job? Time to see a doctor.
The bacteria, Bartonella henselae, lives in the gut of fleas and can remain viable in flea feces for several days. Fleas transmit this bacteria to domestic and stray cats around the world.. Areas where fleas are endemic have higher rates of infested cats. A contaminated cat nail or bite can transmit this organism to humans causing cat scratch disease.
Most cat scratches are not serious and usually respond to symptomatic treatment by washing the wound with soap and water. However, cat scratch infection of the eyelid can rapidly progress to cellulitis around the eye, especially if the person is diabetic or immunosuppressed, for example HIV positive or alcoholic. Cat scratches can also infect the lymph nodes around the head and neck and also inside the eye.
For major scratches, or scratches on the eyelid, treatment includes antibiotics: Zithromax, azithromycin (Z-Pak) for 5 days, or rifampin, doxycycline, or ciprofloxacin. A laceration involving the upper eyelid can cut the muscle that allows the eyelid to move up and down. Microsurgical treatment by an ophthalmologist may be necessary to prevent drooping of the eyelid. Alternatively, if the wound does not involve the eyelid muscle, a plastic surgeon may be consulted about the need for sutures.
Clostridium tetani the spores, which cause tetanus, can be found in the soil and in the intestines and in the feces of cats and other household pets. Tetanus is usually acquired through a laceration or puncture of the skin. Therefore, in addition to antibiotics, an injection of the combined tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine is recommended for all adults aged 19 to 64 years, regardless of when the last vaccine was given. tetanus or diphtheria. It’s especially important to get vaccinated if you have an infected wound. Cat lacerations are more likely to become infected than dog lacerations.
Flea collars are more effective for the cat’s head and neck than for the tail. Cat owners should be aware of the risk of flea infestation and be warned.