Like most people, you probably worry more about the initial bite than the complications that may follow an animal bite. According to the CDC, cats and dogs may carry the bacteria Capnocytophaga.
If cats or dogs have the bacteria in their mouth, they may spread it to you through the bite wound.
Symptoms of Capnocytophaga infection
If you have a Capnocytophaga infection, you may experience symptoms within three to five days. However, the symptoms can start as early as one day after the incident or begin as late as two weeks after. You may have various symptoms, including blisters around the bite wound and redness and swelling. The wound may also remain painful or show signs of draining pus.
In addition, you may suffer from headaches, confusion, fever and stomach pain. If you feel sick following a dog or cat bite, you may have an infection.
Complications of Capnocytophaga infection
Unfortunately, an infection can cause serious complications. Infections can lead to heart attacks and kidney failure, especially without treatment. In addition, severe infection can damage limbs and appendages to the point of requiring amputation. Infections can progress quickly. For example, a patient may exhibit symptoms of infection and develop sepsis within 24 to 72 hours. Even if someone feels fine after an animal bite, he or she needs to talk to a doctor to ensure a lack of Capnocytophaga infection.
In rare cases, people can develop the infection from contact with the animal’s saliva. Whenever a person has close contact with saliva or has a bite wound, the area needs thorough washing with soap and water.