Cat Scratch Disease Treatment
Most cases of cat scratch disease resolve with minimal treatment. Painful, swollen lymph nodes can be drained with a needle, in order to provide relief. Antibiotics are rarely necessary. Antibiotics may be required for those who have severe symptoms, or in those who have illnesses that weaken the immune system, such as AIDS.
Treatment for cat scratch disease may include:
- Rest the infected area.
- Acetaminophen for pain
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, NeoProfen)
- Ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis, Oruvail)
- Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, Aleve)
- Celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Narcotic pain medication:
- For moderate to severe pain
- For short term use only
- Apply warm compresses to swollen lymph nodes.
- Antibiotics for cat scratch disease:
- Azithromycin (Zithromax)
- Doxycycline (Doryx, Bio-Tab, Doxy, Periostat, Vibramycin)
- Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
- Rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane)
- Erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Eryc, Erythrocin)
- Needle aspiration for an abscess that forms in a lymph gland
Needle aspiration includes:
- The skin is sterilized using rubbing alcohol or an antibacterial soap.
- A needle is inserted through the skin and into the swollen lymph node.
- Pus is drained from the lymph node.
Cat Scratch Disease Specialist
Continue to Cat Scratch Disease Home Care
- Chian CA, Arrese JE, Pierard GE. Skin manifestations of Bartonella infections. Int J Dermatol. 2002 Aug;41(8):461-6. 
- Lamps LW, Scott MA. Cat-scratch disease: historic, clinical, and pathologic perspectives. Am J Clin Pathol. 2004 Jun;121 Suppl:S71-80. 
- Rolain JM, Chanet V, Laurichesse H, Lepidi H, Beytout J, Raoult D. Cat scratch disease with lymphadenitis, vertebral osteomyelitis, and spleen abscesses. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Jun;990:397-403.