Approximately 4-5 million animal bite wounds are reported in the United States each year. Domestic companion animals inflict the majority of these wounds. Although canine bites far outnumber feline bites, unlike the dog, the cat’s bite is worse than his bark; 20-80% of all cat bites will become infected (yet only 3-18% of dog bite wounds become infected). Pasteurella multocida is the most commonly cultured bacterium from infected cat bite wounds. Anyone seeking medical attention for a cat-inflicted bite wound is given prophylactic/empiric penicillin or a derivative to prevent Pasteurella infection (provided they are not allergic to penicillins). In an effort to establish a carriage rate of Pasteurella multocida in the domestic feline, bacterial samples from the gingival margins of domestic northern Ohio cats (n = 409) were cultured during the summers of 2005 and 2006. Isolates were tested for antibiotic sensitivity, since prophylactic/empiric use of penicillin and its derivatives could potentially give rise to antibiotic resistance in P. multocida. A high carriage rate (~90%) of P. multocida was observed and was found to be independent of physiological and behavioral variables including age, breed, food type, gingival scale, lifestyle, and sex. High antibiotic susceptibility percentages were observed for benzylpenicillin, amoxicillin-clavulanate, cefazolin, and azithromycin (100%, 100%, 98.37%, and 94.02%, respectively) in P. multocida isolates. The high prevalence of P. multocida in the feline oral cavity indicates that prophylactic/empiric antibiotic therapy is still an appropriate response to cat bite wounds. Additionally, the susceptibility of P. multocida to penicillin and its derivatives indicates that they remain reliable choices for preventing and treating P. multocida infections.



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2007 Andrea Freshwater