Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can you get a disease from a cat bite?"
My friend's cat bit me the other day. There are a couple of little puncture wounds on my arm. Could I get a disease or infection from this? Can cats pass a disease through a bite?
In general, you should always have every animal bite looked at and treated by a physician. This is because there is always a possibility of tissue damage and more importantly, infection. In the case of a cat bite, the physical force of the bite is usually not the problem. The problem is that the cats contain many different types of bacteria in their mouths that can cause some bad infections in your skin. If you presented to your doctor with a report of a cat bite with two little puncture wounds on your arm, you would likely be placed on antibiotics whether it looked infected or not. Just as an FYI, dog bites are often treated differently because they usually don't carry the same bacteria. In any case, if it was an animal you didn't know, you may be asked to retrieve the animal or get treated for rabies. This depends on the situation. If you can get an appointment today to see your primary care physician, pleaase do so. Otherwise, consider going to your local urgent care center to get your bite looked at. Your doctor can assess your risk for contracting rabies and will likely prescribe you an antibiotic.
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