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Cat Bites of the Hand


Mitnovetski, S and Kimble, F, Cat Bites of the Hand, ANZ Journal of Surgery, 74, (10) pp. 859-862. ISSN 1445-1433 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1445-1433.2004.03189.x


Background: Cat bites are the second most common mammalian bites. Cat bites of the hand in particular represent a potentially devastating problem in terms of wound infection and long-term disability if not treated appropriately. The purpose of the present study is to give an overview of demographics, management and follow up of the patients with cat bite injuries of the hand treated at the Royal Hobart Hospital. Methods: Retrospective and prospective data of all patients with cat bites of the hand seen at the Royal Hobart Hospital for a period of 3 years (January 2000 to April 2003) were collected. Demographics, anatomical site, presentation, assessment, investigations, management and follow up of the patients with this type of injury were analysed. The accuracy of the obtained data was checked by analysing questionnaires returned by our patients. Results: Forty-one patients were treated for cat bites of the hand. Twenty-six were managed in the department of emergency medicine and 15 were admitted and managed by the department of plastic and reconstructive surgery. Five of 15 admitted patients required surgery. Compliance was not a major problem in our study as very few patients were lost to follow up. Almost all patients had close follow up and extensive hand physiotherapy achieving overall good long-term results. Out of 39 patients who were sent questionnaires only one indicated long-term problems with the hand (response rate 46%). Conclusion: Appropriate early treatment of cat bites of the hand is the key to success. Treatment with antibiotics, surgical drainage, debridement and copious irrigation, and use of corticosteroids in some cases, proved to be effective. Hand elevation and intensive physiotherapy after a short period of immobilization is critical. We believe that prophylactic antibiotics should be given even in case of a minor infection following cat bites of the hand. Clear guidelines for clinical recognition of infection, hospital admission and management are provided in our study.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Clinical sciences
Research Field:Surgery
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Treatment of human diseases and conditions
UTAS Author:Kimble, F (Associate Professor Frank Kimble)
ID Code:32058
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:22
Deposited By:Surgery
Deposited On:2004-08-01
Last Modified:2005-05-11

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