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Cat Bite Bone Infection Question

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Old 12-28-2003, 09:45 PM   #1
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Question Cat Bite Bone Infection Question

I was bitten on the pointer finger knuckle by my cat back in October. Friendly cat, but we disagreed on how long a bath should be. He bit down hard once and then clamped down again in the same spot. It bled for an hour and I peroxided it and used neosporine and epsom salts. My hand swelled but there was never and drainage.
I am afraid of going to the Doctor so I put it off because it seemed to be getting better. By early December it was still sore and once in a while warm.
I finally made an appointment and went to the Doctor. He looked touched it and perscribed 500 mg of Cephalexin 3 times a day for ten days. That didn't seem to help too much, so I called his office and since he was out talked to the Nurse of a neighboring doctor. She advised that since he gave a total of three fills on the perscription to do another ten days. I did. It seems to have improved but not completely. I called at the end of the second ten days (the 23rd) and the Doctor said, "well, you waited to come in. It might always be that way". When I asked if I needed a stronger antibiotic he said "no, you've had enough". I don'r know much about this, but from what I have read cephalexin seems kind of mild for a possible bone infection.
Also, and this may seem very silly to some of you. When I shine a flashlight behind this knuckle it is a little darker than the same one on my other hand. It is a lot lighter than it was before the antibiotics but still darker, kind of a diffused light. The outward appearance is better than it was, but still not matching of the other or "good" knuckle.
Any experience or advice?

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Old 12-29-2003, 01:04 AM   #2
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Re: Cat Bite Bone Infection Question

Hi, what you're describing is kind of scary and I do think you could go to another doctor who is willing to put you through appropriate tests to make sure it's not what you're thinking.

Blood tests may be able to tell if you're fighting a bone infection, and I think an x-ray could tell or even cause suspicion for something wonky happening in your knuckle.

Don't wait! Just thought of something regarding another cat bite post a few weeks back. Someone mentioned vets and the bites they get. What if you contacted your vet, told him/her that you got bit and ask what possible problems that could happen from that. Ask if you need any shots you may require because of the bite.
From there (with any suggestions) go back to your doctor/another doctor until you're satisfied you don't have something serious.

I hope you get answers soon.

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Old 03-30-2004, 08:20 PM   #3
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Re: Cat Bite Bone Infection Question

Hi folks,

I was bitten by a 14yo moggy that my wife & I were looking after about 6 weeks ago ( 25 Feb 2004 ) and was immediately infected with bacteria. My left hand swelled up at the index finger joint to serious 'cellulitis'. 24 hours later my general practioner (GP) took one look and sent me straight off to hospital to recieve 4 days straight of intravenous antibiotics, two of which were double bangers ie 'two in one'. The hospital surgeon said he may have to open it up but I was able to get out after 4 days. I was sent home with a double banger oral antibiotic and an appointment to see the surgeon again in one weeks time.

One week later the surgeon wasn't happy with my progress & sent me for 2 ultrasounds, 2 gamma scans with gallium injections, an MRI scan with a different gallium injection. All of this lead the surgeon to say he had to open it up & sooner the better ( ! ) because the bone and joint cartelage can be infected as well. So, back to hospital for 'up to three weeks' he said. He got the microbiologist involved as well, to help with identifying the bug that wouldn't die!

So I am back onto intravenous antibiotics with daily blood tests to ensure maximum allowable levels of one of the antibiotics. This time, instead of a canular into the crook of my right arm ( "...and dont bend your arm Mr Xxxxxx..." ), I got one placed in my chest which accessed the main vein to ( from ? ) my lungs, so the nurse said. This was done whilst under general anaesthesia when the surgeon cut the left hand open for a look at the bone & joint infection and to clean out any 'fluids' (which I discover later means pus). He said "There was a little fluid Mr Xxxxxx and the bone has some minor infection. This will take 3 to 4 months to heal. You have to take antibiotics for all of that time and in hospital for 3 weeks on intravenous infusions. I will place you in the hands of the microbiologist, follow her lead with respect to the changes in antibiotics"

So to conclude this story ( not the drama ), the microbiologist came and changed the antibiotics from time to time and gradually switched me from intravenous to oral. I was taking two orals and one intra when she came in, after two weeks, and had a look at the wound and said "thats healing well, do you want go home today?" She made my day! My wife was visiting at the time, fortuitously, and was able to drive me home, 29 march 2004. The micro lady increased the dose of one of the oral antibiotics to take home and I have to take these for 3 months!

I am to see the microbiologist every two weeks as well, with blood tests, to ensure that the infection is in fact being killed off.

So, BEWARE THE CAT BITES................

Best regards to all,


Old 03-31-2004, 07:43 AM   #4
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Re: Cat Bite Bone Infection Question

I had a sister in law who was bitten by a stray cat that was trying to fight her cat one day and she too experienced the same thign as you did Fairwind. She had become so infected as she let ignored it a few days and nearly died. She spent over a week in the hospital and was on antibiotics for quite a while.
Cat bites are very serious, more serious than their scratches.
I agree, you should see another doctor and get a second opinion.

Old 03-31-2004, 05:19 PM   #5
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Re: Cat Bite Bone Infection Question

Sounds like you need a new doctor! I think that's horrible that your doctor would say something like that. I got bit by a cat and my hand swelled up and I got red streaks running up my arm after a day. Cat bites are very serious. I had to have antibiotic shots, because the doctor said that the pills don't work quickly enough. Good luck!

Old 07-20-2004, 01:20 AM   #6
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Re: Cat Bite Bone Infection Question

Re: "...So, BEWARE THE CAT BITES................"

I am now off all antibiotics, the last 6 weeks of 20/day antibiotics was "...just to make sure...". The microbiologist finally gave me a clearance " are now cured.."

That was about 5 weeks ago and I am in fact clear of infection, but I still have some loss of function, I cant close the finger up into a fist. I may regain full function of the finger but it will be a long time if I do. My insurance company says that they wont assess function loss until after one year from the operation.


Old 07-20-2004, 05:31 AM   #7
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Re: Cat Bite Bone Infection Question

You are indeed very lucky. A former sister in law of mine got bitten a few years back and she nearly died. Cat bites are actually more fatal than that of a dog. Her hand became quickly infected, within days of the bite, and it spread through her body and into her heart. She was hospitalized for a week. She is doing well now and has no problems since just a slight scar where they had to open her hand to place drainages.

Good luck, hopefully you'll get your function back. It could be possible there's some scar tissue build up from the bite which would impede you closing your finger completely.

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