Cat bite on the hand can be catastophic, says Mayo Clinic


A bite from a pet cat is nothing to fool around with, according to a new study by the Mayo Clinic.

USA Today published a story on the research, which shows that one third of those who sought medical treatment for a cat bite to the hand had to be hospitalized. The study looked at 193 patients who were treated following a cat bite on the hand. Two thirds of those hospitalized required surgery to flush out the infection in the wounds.

Brian Carlsen, an orthopedic surgeon at Rochester's Mayo Clinic, published the findings in the February edition of the Journal of Hand Surgery. He said the dangerous infections are caused when a cat's fangs penetrate the skin and push bacteria deep into joints and tissue. He said pet owners often ignore cat bites.

The Mayo study was picked up by The Independent in the United Kingdom, which indulged in the single-cat-lady image in its lead paragraph. "The lonely spinster surrounded by cats is a long-held stereotype – but it turns out there may be some truth to the label," the story reads. "Middle-aged women are the group most at risk of being injured by a feline biting them on the hand, research has shown. Sixty-nine per cent of people who require treatment for cat bites are female and the average age is 49."

USA Today's story focused on Minnesotan Dawn Bothun, who said a bite on her hand from her pet cat Mr. Binks turned into an eight-week hospital ordeal and multiple surgeries that racked up $150,000 in medical bills. Bothun waited a week after the bite before seeking medical care at Saint Mary's Hospital, which is part of the Mayo Clinic.

"The infection from the cat bite reached my tendon," Bothun said. "Every time they would stitch me up after flushing the wound the infection would just get worse. The pain almost drove me up the wall."

Carlsen said cat bites on other parts of the body are typically not as dangerous; the study showed the hand and wrist are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Carlsen said the research is a reminder for cat owners to be careful of cat bites, even those that look like pin pricks, and monitor them for swelling and redness.

Dog owners have less to fear. Dogs' teeth are blunter, so they don't penetrate as deeply and they tend to leave a larger wound after they bite.

Next Up

ballot voting vote

Appeals court changes rules for MN absentee ballots received after Election Day

Pending a further challenge, votes received after 8 p.m. on Election Day may not be counted.

Donald Trump

Confusion over where Trump campaign rally will be held Friday

It sounds like it'll be held at the airport in Rochester.

Screen Shot 2020-10-29 at 3.19.05 PM

This video of the Lowry Hill Tunnel walls being cleaned is oddly satisfying

The tunnel will be closed overnight Thursday for cleaning.

gray wolf

Gray wolf removed from the endangered species list

A decision on whether they can be hunted in Minnesota will come later.

covid saliva test

Minnesota opening its 7th saliva testing location in St. Paul

The tests are free and open to anyone regardless of if they have symptoms.

pete stauber - qunn nystrom CD8

Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's 8th Congressional District

It's a race between incumbent Rep. Pete Stauber and Democratic challenger Quinn Nystrom.

fire, flames

Lives saved as passerby, city workers rescue from 3 from Golden Valley fire

The Golden Valley Fire Department responded to the fire Wednesday morning.

Caribou Coffee Holiday 2020

Caribou Coffee rolls out holiday cups, menu early

The holiday season is underway at some Twin Cities stores, with a nationwide rollout planned for Nov. 5.

Malik Beasley

Charges: Timberwolves' Beasley pointed assault rifle at family on a home tour

The family was on the Parade of Homes tour when Beasley allegedly pointed the gun at them, telling them to get off his property.