We have heard the old wives’ tales, the songs, and the superstitions, but believe it or not, cat scratch fever is a very real thing. And, if you have a pet cat, then there is a pretty decent chance that you will contract it at some time or another.
What exactly is cat scratch fever? Well, most doctors refer to it as cat scratch disease, and it’s actually a bacterial infection. If you have ever gotten bitten or scratched by your cat, and the tiny scratch winds up swelling up and itching – then you most likely have had cat scratch fever.
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Cat scratch fever isn’t usually serious and generally goes away on its own. However, more serious cases may require a dosage of antibiotics from a doctor. If you think you may have contracted the bacterial infection, you should wash your hands and the site of the bite or scratch with warm water and soap immediately – then apply an over the counter anti-bacterial ointment.
Not every bite or scratch automatically means you will contract the bacterial disease. Some cats are actually carriers of the Bartonella henselae bacteria, and that is the only way you will contract cat scratch fever from them. It’s believed that the bacteria is spread from cat to cat via fleas. There really is no way to prevent your pets from contracting the bacteria, your best bet is to try and keep them flea-free.
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If you think you have cat scratch fever, don’t panic. Just keep a close eye on the infected site, and if it doesn’t seem to be healing on its own, or if you begin to show signs of a fever or have swollen lymph nodes – it is time to see a doctor.
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