Cat bites can be considerably more dangerous than most people assume, according to new research from Mayo Clinic. The findings of the new study state that one in every three recipients of a cat bite to the hand ends up hospitalized, with two-thirds of those hospitalized ending up requiring surgery.

The study notes that the complication most often experienced by cat bite victims is a deep-tissue infection. The research also found that, somewhat unsurprisingly, and somewhat humorously, middle-aged women were the most common victim of cat bites.

The reason for increased likelihood for infection, as compared to human or dog bites, is all down to the fangs. Cat mouths don’t harbor bacteria that is anymore dangerous than that found in dog mouths, it’s simply that their fangs are far more effective at delivering this bacteria deep into the meat of what it bites.

‘The dogs’ teeth are blunter, so they don’t tend to penetrate as deeply and they tend to leave a larger wound after they bite. The cats’ teeth are sharp and they can penetrate very deeply, they can seed bacteria in the joint and tendon sheaths,” explains study author Brian Carlsen, MD, a Mayo Clinic plastic surgeon and orthopedic hand surgeon. […]

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