The veterinary profession, though not usually thought of as a dangerous profession per se, is teeming with hazards. From the obvious threat of animals causing bodily harm to increased risk of exposure to ionizing radiation to mental health issues, depression, and suicide, no vet is immune to risks. While I am generally risk-averse when it comes to fractious cats and regrettably have had my fair share of visible cat scratches, some worse than others, most were superficial. Sadly, this month I succumbed to my first (and I truly hope my last) cat bite. She got me badly between my right index finger and middle finger. I thoroughly rinsed my hands, started icing, and later went to the emergency room for assessment since the pain persisted, and my hand started to swell. I had flashbacks to friends of mine in vet school who had experienced similar symptoms and had told horror stories of nasty cat bite infections that required surgery. I was treated for severe cellulitis and was admitted to the hospital for a few days on intravenous antibiotics and pain medication.
I felt incredibly fortunate for this intervention and the fact that my wife was able to be by my side throughout the ordeal and will continue to be there for me as I strive to recover one hundred percent. Of the number of texts of love and support from my family members, my cousin Ella wrote to me to remind me of when our grandmother was bitten by a water moccasin. She almost lost her leg from that injury, but thankfully she was a miraculous healer. While snake venom is on another level, the local Pasteurella infection was no joke, and I am thankful for the treatment I received. Here’s to healing and safety in the workplace!