Doctors Say Patient's Erectile Dysfunction Caused By Common Household Pet

By Ryan Tronier

Doctors say an unidentified 23-year-old man suffered erectile dysfunction in addition to weight loss, fever, and pain in his lower back, pelvis, and penis glands after he was scratched by a young cat.

Physicians saw no abnormalities aside from swollen lymph nodes, and tests ruled out sexually transmitted diseases. After the man revealed he had been scratched by a cat, doctors confirmed with a bone marrow and lymph node biopsy that he had a bacterial infection commonly known as cat scratch disease which is caused by Bartonella henslae bacteria. Doctors treated the patient with antibiotics, and the infection cleared in three weeks, according to a British medical journal that documented this rare case.

Patient sitting on treatment couch
credit: XiXinXing/iStock/GettyImages

The CDC says the dangerous bacteria is passed along by both domestic and feral felines but is more common in strays. Some evidence shows cats contract Bartonella from fleas, according to Newsweek, but the path of infection still remains a mystery.

Curious Little Kittens are Hiding At The Pavement
credit: ESezer/iStock/GettyImages

Officials recommend limiting playtime with kitties you don't know or who are feral and to wash any scratches a lovely furball may give you during the course of experiencing their delightfulness. And if you do notice swollen lymph nodes after a cat scratch, then you should probably see a doctor.