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Cat Scratch Disease


Cat-scratch disease (CSD) is an infection caused by a bacteria (germ) called Bartonella henselae that is in a cat's mouth. You can get CSD by being scratched, licked, or bitten by an infected cat. The germs usually spread after the cat licks its paws then scratches or bites human skin.


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Medicines used to treat CSD may cause nausea or vomiting. You may have an allergic reaction or develop kidney problems with long-term use of strong antibiotics. If left untreated, the infection may spread to other parts of the body. CSD may affect the bones, lungs, heart, liver, and brain. People who have decreased ability to fight infection are at a higher risk of problems.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


  • Antibiotics treat a bacterial infection.

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.

  • Antipyretics help decrease a fever.


  • Blood tests may show which bacteria is causing your infection.

  • A sample of tissue or fluid from your wound or lymph node may show which bacteria is causing your infection.

  • An x-ray, ultrasound, CT, or MRI may show if the infection has spread. You may be given contrast liquid to help the infection show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.


  • Incision and drainage may be needed to drain fluid or pus from your lymph nodes.

  • Surgery may be needed to remove all or part of your affected lymph nodes.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.