Sunday, Dec 2, 2012
Garza County News


Dr. Kerry Wink

The Technician and the Rock Song

Published March 2, 2012 @ midnight

Once again this week’s article reflects on current happenings at my clinic.  Let me stop here and say if you do not like my more ‘personal’ articles, please send me a topic you would like discussed.  It is hard to come up with educational topics on a weekly basis.  Plus, I do not want my readers to get bored feeling like they are reading a medical journal.  I try to incorporate some sort of veterinary lesson with each story while trying to keep it interesting.  Sometimes it works, other times it does not.  But back to this week’s subject….

If you have walked through our clinic doors you have met Lee Ann Ray.  Being my only employee, Lee Ann is not only my receptionist/office manager but my vet tech as well.  Here’s where I get to brag a bit.  I have been so blessed to have Lee Ann working for me. Having no prior veterinary experience she has developed into a wonderful technician who is not afraid to handle anything.  However, my tech is becoming too familiar with a particular reoccurrence over the past year and a half.  I am already losing count of how many times this has happened to her.  What happened to Lee Ann?  Here’s a hint…music star Ted Nugent had a famous rock song with its title being Lee Ann’s downfall this week. Any guesses on what it could be?  Yup, Lee Ann has once again developed Cat Scratch Fever.

No, we will not get into the lyrics or meaning of the rock song.  Although every time I see her I want to break out humming the famous 3 chord riff the song is so famous for.  However, I am talking about the Cat Scratch Fever you can get from being scratched or bitten by a cat.  The first time this happened to Lee Ann, she was a volunteer at the clinic with not much experience handling animals.  We were out on a farm call vaccinating multiple dogs and cats.  We had finished most of the animals and down to the last cat needing to be vaccinated.  I was just about to inject the vaccine when the cat turned and sunk his teeth into Lee Ann’s hand and scratched her while trying to escape.  I do not know who was trying to hang on to whom at this point but I remember telling Lee Ann just to let the cat go.  Since we were outside, she did not want to let the cat go because it could run off then we would not be able vaccinate it.  Needless to say the cat won this battle.  Although she washed and disinfected the bite area, by the next morning her entire arm was bright red and swollen so much she could barely use it.  She went to the doctor who gave her multiple shots and prescribed her oral antibiotics.  She also had to wear a sling for a few days to help keep her arm elevated.  All from a cat bite.

After this first episode last year, we were more prepared should this happen again.  Lee Ann has become a better animal handler and recognizes the safety issues with handling animals in a clinic setting.  But no matter how much we practice safety in our line of work, accidents still can happen.  Lee Ann got bit by a cat again earlier this week.  We knew to act fast with her history of reactions.  This time she got bit on the thumb of one hand and on the wrist of the other hand.  Within hours, she was swelling and turning red.  By morning the next day Lee Ann did not have the full use of her hands and arms. She had to see a doctor as soon as possible and ended up getting two shots and prescribed more oral antibiotics.  Since Lee Ann is my only employee and will be out for a few days, I have been scrambling trying to find someone to help me up at the clinic.  Makes me realize how invaluable Lee Ann is.  I hope she is not out for too long this time.  Hurry back Lee Ann!

Cat Scratch Fever, or Bartonellosis, is transmitted through a cat bite, scratch or contact with cat saliva on broken skin or the white of the eye.  A person may experience redness, swelling, fever, headache, fatigue, and a poor appetite. Kittens are more likely to be infected and to pass the bacterium to people. Here’s where it gets interesting.  Not all cats carry the Bartonella bacteria.  Some people are bit or scratched and most of the time the wound does not become infected or require antibiotics.  The best way to avoid Cat Scratch Fever is to avoid rough play with cats that could lead to scratches or bites. If you do get a scratch or bite, wash it well with soap and water. Also wash your hands after playing/handling a cat.  This prevents any saliva which may have been on their coat to transfer to you should you rub your eyes.  However, if you are as ‘lucky’ as Lee Ann is, then you better take all the precautions you can.  React early and do not wait for professional medical help.  If you are bitten or scratched by a cat and then develop any symptoms of cat scratch disease, contact your doctor immediately.

If you have any questions regarding Cat Scratch Fever or would like to submit a topic for a future article, please call us at Garza County Animal Hospital, 806-495-3726.  You can also submit your suggestion by email or on our facebook page

The copyright for all articles is held by the respective authors and/or The Garza Post. All rights reserved. Any publication, rewriting, or redistribution is prohibited without prior written permission.
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