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Are cat bites dangerous?

Dog bites in Ohio are more likely to make the news than attacks from any other type of pet, and yet other domestic animals can also cause harm to humans by biting. You may not consider a cat a dangerous animal, and often they are not, but if you receive a bite from a cat that penetrates the skin, take it seriously. The Mayo Clinic reports that infections from cat bites are common and one in three patients bitten on the hand by a cat winds up in the hospital.

Because dog bites subjectively look worse than cat bites, people may take cat bites, which resemble a pinprick, less seriously. However, a cat's teeth are sharper than the teeth of a dog, so when a cat bites on the hand, their teeth can penetrate into deep tissues and joints, injecting bacteria in the process that can include a certain strain that is particularly hard to fight with antibiotics and common in animals. 

The Mayo Clinic conducted a study of cat bites over a three-year period, from 2009 to 2011, and found that of the patients hospitalized for a cat bite on the hand, two-thirds ultimately required surgery. The mean age of cat bite victims was 49, and 69 percent of the patients were women.

The location on the hand where the cat bites also affects the seriousness of the wound. Patients faced a lower risk of hospitalization if they received the bite over soft tissue compared to patients who received a bite over one of the joints of the hand or the wrist. 

While patients who received cat bites to the hand delayed seeking treatment for an average of 27 hours after the bite, the risk of infection from any animal bite makes it advisable to pursue medical attention right away.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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