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Cat owner’s face ballooned and she was hooked to hospital drip for four days after a tiny scratch caused severe reaction

A WOMAN woke up with a black eye and swollen face after being scratched by her own cat and ended up on an IV for four days.

Heidi Plamping, 42, and her three-year-old cat, Storm, from Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, had travelled to British Columbia at the start of this month to stay with a friend.

When they arrived on May 2, Heidi let Storm out on her lead, but she became spooked her friend's two Great Danes and got tangled in the lead.

After Heidi rushed to her rescue, Storm leapt onto her head, scratching her in the process.

Heidi had seven scratches on her face and three more on her hand and arm and woke up the next day with a black eye.

Over the next few days her hands and eyes swelled up and she went to see a doctor.

They prescribed her some pills and sent her on her way.

MULTIPLE SCRATCHES

But the next day the swelling was even worse so she went back to the doctor who said cat scratches can be very serious and cause sepsis or even death.

She was put on an IV and had to return every day for four days to get a new dose of antibiotics administered.

Heidi said: "Their dogs are very friendly, but my cat hasn't met a dog before so when one of them showed up she freaked out.

"She was so scared she climbed my face to my head while I screamed murder and put her inside.

“I had about seven scratches on my face and three on my hand and arm."

WHAT IS CAT-SCRATCH DISEASE?

Cat-scratch disease (CSD) is a bacterial infection spread by cats.

The disease spreads when an infected cat licks a person’s open wound, or bites or scratches a person hard enough to break the surface of the skin.

The infected area may appear swollen and red with round, raised lesions and can have pus.

A person with CSD may also have a fever, headache, poor appetite, and exhaustion.

CSD is caused by a bacterium called Bartonella henselae.

About 40 per cent of cats carry B. henselae at some time in their lives, and it is more common in kittens.

Although rare, CSD can cause people to have serious complications.

CSD can affect the brain, eyes, heart, or other internal organs.

These rare complications, which may require intensive treatment, are more likely to occur in children younger than five years and people with weakened immune systems.

She added: “They put me on new pills and an IV that I would keep in my arm and come back to the doctors every day to get another dose of antibiotics.

"The next day, the swelling was going down but a rash was spreading on my arm.

“The doctor outlined my arm where the rash was and told me to go to the emergency room if it spread any further that night.

"Thankfully it didn't and once the hand swelling went down they finally gave me prednisone to help with the swelling and rash in my face."

Heidi has had Storm ever since she was four months old and says that this incident hasn’t changed their relationship, but Storm is now more wary of going outside.

She said: “Storm looked at me weird for a few days when my face was swollen but I forgave her right away.

“If I had to protect her again and pick her up, I would. I don't have kids. She is my baby. My fur baby."


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