As the name suggests, cat scratch disease is an infection caused by a bacteria called Bartonella henselae, which is spread through contact with an infected cat - bite or scratch, or contact with cat saliva on broken skin, or by petting a cat that has the disease and then rubbing your eyes. This disease is also called cat scratch fever.
Humans that contract cat scratch disease may show common symptoms, such as: fatigue, fever, headache, lymph node swelling near the site of the scratch or bite, and bump or blister at the site of the injury. Should you develop any of these symptoms, your doctor can perform the Bartonella henselae IFA test and determine if you have the bacteria.
This is not a severe illness in people who are healthy, where medical treatment is not necessary, although people with a suppressed immune system and young children may require treatment with antibiotics.
In cats, the cat scratch disease is generally transmitted through contact with flea feces. This bacteria is excreted through the flea and into its feces, which it leaves on the cat's skin.
Unfortunately, while grooming themselves, cats ingest the bacteria, thereby becoming infected with the Bartonella strain. Humans do not acquire this infection from fleas.
Cats that have the bacteria, show no signs of disease, but in some cases they can develop symptoms such as: swollen glands, fever and some possible muscle aches.
The treatment for cats is quiet simple, just apply flea and ticks treatment on your cat and other pets in your house, and keep your cat indoors to avoid contact with other animals.
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You can also reduce the risk of getting this disease from cats by simply avoiding bites and scratches, and by trimming your cat's nails weekly. Teach your cat to play nice and to be gentle, avoiding rough play.
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It is also recommended that you wash your hands after handling a cat. If you are bitten or scratched by a cat, be sure to clean and disinfect the wound immediately. Be sure to contact your doctor if you develop any of the symptoms described.
"A cat improves the garden wall in sunshine, and the hearth in foul weather." - Judith Merkle Riley
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