Virginian residents who suffer from cat bite injuries may not realize the danger they’re facing. Unfortunately, even a seemingly small bite wound from a cat can result in big hospital bills, hefty medical fees, and long recovery times.

Mayo Clinic states that up to 1 in every 3 people who are bitten by a cat end up needing to be hospitalized. It isn’t for their size or the ferocity of their bites. Rather, it’s because of the bacteria that lives in their mouths. Cat bites are extremely prone to infection, especially if the bite wound is located on the hand. If a bite is not treated quickly, these infections could potentially be life-threatening.

Signs of infection will usually appear quickly and can include redness or swelling in the affected area, pain, tenderness, and the secretion of puss. However, it is advised that bite victims seek medical attention before the signs of infection even appear.

Healthline states that one of the reasons for this increased risk of infection is due to the fact that cat’s teeth are designed to puncture skin. This injects bacteria deep below the surface, where it can get into lower layers of fat or tissue. Exposure to bacteria at this level may result in sepsis, gangrene, and other severe infected conditions.

Unfortunately, cat bites are relatively common. Even bites from domesticated felines with all of their vaccines can end up becoming infected. For this reason, any sufferers of a cat bite attack could have the option of pursuing damages.