Cat scratches and bites can cause cat scratch disease, a bacterial infection carried in cat saliva. The bacteria are passed from a cat to a human after the cat licks its paws then scratches human skin. Rubbing the eyes after petting a cat's fur can also spread cat scratch disease. Young kittens less than 1 year of age are more likely to scratch, increasing the likelihood of infection.
The following are the most common symptoms of cat scratch disease. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
A cat bite or scratch that does not heal or worsens over time
Painful or swollen glands, especially under the armpits or on the side of the neck
Flu-like symptoms including headache, lethargy, decreased appetite, fatigue, joint pain, or fever
The symptoms of cat scratch disease may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.
Specific treatment for cat scratch disease will be determined by your child's doctor based on the following:
Your child's age, health, and medical history
Extent of the injury
Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the injury
Your opinion or preference
The location of the injury
Treatment may include:
Antibiotics (to treat the infection)
Supportive care (to treat the symptoms that result from the infection)