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Cat Scratch Fever - What is It?

Bringing home a new kitten not only means exposing your kitten to your home, but exposing your pet health issues to your household as well. Kittens are notorious Petri dishes of bacteria and unwanted germs. While most people have images of the song when they hear the term Cat scratch fever, but it is a devastating and terrible bacterial infection which can be fatal in certain individuals.

The bacteria Bartonella henselae is responsible for cat scratch fever in humans, mostly in young children, as they are the ones who have the most contact with kittens. Though the infection is not limited to children only. Adults can contract the infection which causes lymph nodes in the body to swell profusely. While the bacterium has limited stress on pet health, it can be fatal in immune compromised individuals and children.

A cat can become infected with the bacterium through a flea bite, which is why flea control is so important in pet health care. Most individuals contract the bacterium through a scratch or bite from kitten, though some adult cats can expose people to the bacterium. The bacterium is passed into the cat through a flea bite but does not affect the cat in any certain terms. The cat can live with the bacteria their entire life with the bacteria simply living as a flora of their system. It lives within the saliva of the feline and can only be transmitted to a human when saliva comes into contact with broken skin. This is why kitten bites are likely to expose a person to the bacteria. Since kittens are more likely to play and bite, they are more likely to expose their owners to the bacteria. However, once a person is exposed to the bacteria, they will be immune to future exposure.

While the bacterium does not affect pet health, what it can do to human health is agonizing. The person develops swollen lymph nodes that are tender to the touch and can be upwards to two inches in diameter. Depending on the location of the bite, the bacterium will infect surrounding lymph nodes, that is, if a person is bitten on the arm, the lymph nodes in the shoulder and neck area will become infected. A mild fever sometimes accompanies the swelling. The enlarged lymph nodes are generally the indication for diagnosis, though there are a few blood tests which can be run to search for the bacterium. However, if the bacterium is left untreated, it can spread into the liver, eyes and brain, causing greater infection and even seizures. While it can take some time to recover, most individuals make a full recovery with treatment.

There is little an individual can do to ensure their pet health is not exposed to this bacterium. The only thing pet owners can do to prevent any exposure is proper flea control. As fleas can transmit many different bacteria which can affect pet health, it is a good idea to properly manage fleas with flea control. A topical flea control can help keep the little monsters off your cat and household treatments can eliminate and possible future attacks.

Gary Pearson is an accomplished niche website developer and author.

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