Pasteurella Multocida Infection

Pasteurella multocida or P. multocida is a bacteria that can cause infection. Healthy dogs and cats carry these bacteria in their mouths. This kind of infection is usually caused by an animal bite. It can also occur after a dog or cat licks a person's skin that is damaged by a cut or scratch. When people are infected, a bad skin infection usually results. The infection can then spread into bones and tendons. Rarely, the infection can spread to your blood. If this happens, you can develop a heart infection (endocarditis). The bacteria can also cause an infection on the surface of the brain (meningitis).


Contact with an animal is usually the cause of this infection. Cats, dogs, poultry (chicken, turkey), and livestock (cow, horse, sheep) can all carry the bacteria. The bacteria may spread to a person through biting, scratching, or licking an open sore. Sometimes, the cause is unknown.


Symptoms usually start within 24 hours after contact with an animal. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain, redness, warmth, and swelling around the bite.

  • Fluid leaking from the bite area.

  • Fever.

  • Joint pain. This can make it hard for you to move.

  • Bone pain.


To decide if you have a P. multocida infection, your caregiver will probably:

  • Ask about any recent contact you have had with animals.

  • Check for signs of infection. This could include:

  • Taking a sample of fluid leaking from your wound.

  • Taking a sample of fluid from a joint.

  • Doing blood tests.

  • Doing imaging tests. This may include CT scans or an MRI scan. These scans can show if there is an infection in your tendons, joints, or bones.


  • For a simple skin and soft tissue infection, you may need to take antibiotic medicines for 7 to 10 days. For a worse infection, antibiotics may need to be given for 2 to 6 weeks.

  • Some infections need to be treated in the hospital. You will be given antibiotics through an intravenous line (IV). A needle will be put in your hand or arm. The medicine will flow directly into your body through the IV. Initial hospital care is often needed for deep wounds or infections that have spread to the bone, joint, or blood.


  • Take your antibiotics as directed. Finish them even if you start to feel better.

  • Rest at home until your caregiver says it is okay to go back to your normal activities.

  • Keep all follow-up appointments as directed. This is how your caregiver can make sure your treatment is working.

You may need a tetanus shot if:

  • You cannot remember when you had your last tetanus shot.

  • You have never had a tetanus shot.

  • The injury broke your skin.

If you get a tetanus shot, your arm may swell, get red, and feel warm to the touch. This is common and not a problem. If you need a tetanus shot and you choose not to have one, there is a rare chance of getting tetanus. Sickness from tetanus can be serious.


  • Your pain from the wound gets worse.

  • You develop redness, warmth, or swelling around the wound.

  • You see fluid or pus leaking from the wound.

  • You have trouble moving the infected area or develop swelling of a joint.

  • You develop a bad headache or a stiff neck.

  • You have chest pain.

  • You have trouble breathing.

  • You have a fever.

  • You develop side effects from your medicines.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.