Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.


Cat Bite of the Arm Overview

Are cat bites of the arm serious?
Cats have long, sharp teeth that easily puncture the skin, as well as structures beneath the skin. In the case of a cat bite to the arm, it is important to make sure the bite has not penetrated into a joint. Other structures that can be injured include arteries and nerves. Cat bites are common and frequently cause skin infections.

What are the symptoms of a cat bite of the arm?
Symptoms of a cat bite include skin puncture wound, pain around the bite, and bleeding from the bite. Penetration into a joint may cause pain with movement of the joint. Numbness and tingling should be investigated as a potential nerve injury.

How does the doctor treat a cat bite of the arm?
Treatment for cat bites depends on the depth of penetration. General treatment includes wound irrigation and cleansing, tetanus vaccination, and antibiotics.

Last Updated: Dec 13, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Cat Bite of the Arm References
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  3. Correira K. Managing dog, cat, and human bite wounds. JAAPA. 2003 Apr;16(4):28-32, 34, 37. [14968515]
  4. Talan DA, Citron DM, Abrahamian FM, Moran GJ, Goldstein EJ. Bacteriologic analysis of infected dog and cat bites. Emergency Medicine Animal Bite Infection Study Group. N Engl J Med. 1999 Jan 14;340(2):85-92. [9887159]
  5. Wolff KD. Management of animal bite injuries of the face: experience with 94 patients. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 1998 Jul;56(7):838-43. [9663574]
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