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What is Cat Scratch Fever?

What is Cat Scratch Fever?

Unfortunately, “Cat Scratch Fever” is more than just a classic rock song. What is Cat Scratch Disease? Cat Scratch Disease (CSD), also known as cat scratch fever, is an infection that is caused by the bacterium Bartonella Henselae.  

There are a couple different ways that a cat can contract the disease. When a cat has an open wound, they can get infected with CSDby a flea bite or flea dirt (flea poop) getting into that wound. They can also become infected from a cat bite or blood transfusion from a cat that is either infected by the disease or a carrier of the disease. In fact, roughly 40% of cats carry the disease at some point in their lifetime, even if they never actually show any signs of having it. 

If a cat does become infected, they can get a fever that will last a few days. In some cases, they will develop symptoms that are more serious, such as: appetite loss, lethargy, vomiting, swollen lymph nodes, or red eyes. 

Humans can also get infected if they get scratched by a cat, especially a kitten that is under one year old, as the bacteria can get transmitted from a cat to a human during a scratch. It can also be spread if a cat licks an open wound on a human. While most cat scratches do not result in transmission of the disease, it’s important to thoroughly wash any wound with soap and water. 

Cat Scratch Disease Treatment: Cat Vaccinations 

For your cat, it is common that the symptoms will go away after a few days on its own. However, it is always a good idea to get your at checked out by your Dallas vet. Veterinarian care will be able to do a more thorough examination to make sure everything possible is being done.  

In humans, a skin infection can occur roughly 3-14 days after the scratch, and it usually will resolve itself on its own. However, in rare cases, especially among young children or those with a weaker immune system, serious complications can emerge from CSD. If you or a loved one develops a fever, headache, enlarged lymph nodes or a decreased appetite anytime from 1-3 weeks after a scratch, contact your doctor, who may prescribe antibiotics. 

Pet Vaccinations: Mobile Vet Dallas

Obviously, the best way to stop CSD is by preventing it from occurring at all. Keep strict flea control procedures as recommended by your veterinarian. It also helps to keep your cat indoors, preventing them from infection. You should also keep your cat’s nails trimmed and do what you can while playing with your cat to avoid being scratched. Be sure to go to The Shot Spot, a mobile vet in Dallas for routine checkups and pet vaccinations, which can help keep your cat healthy. 

With some planning and smarts, you can help prevent Cat Scratch Disease from becoming an issue for your cat or yourself. If you do get scratched, do not panic, but take immediate steps to help. This can reduce the risk of a more serious issue and keep you healthy.