When you think about complications from cat or dog bites, you may be thinking about the puncture wound itself. Realistically, you may want to worry about other types of infection, such as Capnocytophaga. Capnocytophaga is a bacteria found in the mouths of humans and animals. When bit, the bacterium enters the wound.

A specific version is common in the saliva and gums of cats and dogs. According to the CDC, infection caused by this bacterium can lead to serious complications.

What are the symptoms of infection?

After suffering a bite, if you have an infection, the symptoms will begin to appear within three to five days. This is the most common. However, it is possible that your symptoms will appear up to 14 days later.

The symptoms include blisters around the bite wound, redness swelling and pain.  In addition, you may have a fever, stomach pain and muscle and joint pain. If you have any headache or confusion in the days following the bite, along with these other symptoms, you may have an infection.

What are the complications from infection?

An infection from capnocytophaga can lead to extremely serious complications. Patients may suffer from kidney failure, heart attacks or even gangrene. This type of infection has led to the need for amputation of limbs or fingers. It is important to monitor your symptoms closely because if it results in sepsis, it can lead to death within 72 hours of the onset of symptoms. While most infections arise due to bites, some infection may occur due to exposure to a dog or cat’s saliva.