Area Medical Information (BAMI.us)
Cat and Dog Bites
What to do first:
the wound gently but thoroughly with soap and water
for 3-5 minutes.
2) Apply pressure with a clean towel to the injured part to stop the bleeding.
Apply an antibiotic ointment and cover wound with a
4) Keep the injury elevated above the level of the heart
to slow swelling and prevent infection.
5) Report the incident to the proper authority in your community
(for example, animal control
office or police).
6) Apply antibiotic ointment
to the area 2 times every day until it heals. (2,6)
7) Call your doctor if any of these situations occur:
All cat bites Cat bites often cause infection. You don't need to call your doctor
for a cat scratch, unless you think the wound is infected
A dog bite on
the hand, foot or head
A bite that is deep or gaping
Bite victims who have diabetes,
liver or lung disease, cancer, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
(AIDS) or another condition that could weaken the ability to fight
Any signs of
infection, such as fever, chills, redness, swelling, warmth, increased tenderness,
oozing of pus from the wound.
doesn't stop after 15 minutes of pressure
Possible broken bone, nerve damage or another serious injury
Last tetanus shot
(vaccine) was more than 5 years ago. (If so, a booster
shot may be necessary and should be given within 24 hours of injury.)
Bites are generally not sutured
unless a large area is involved or the bite involves the face. Many of
these become infected, so most doctors prefer to leave them open for
daily wound care. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed for bite wounds.
|Rabies: Most common in raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes
Bites from nonimmunized
domestic animals and wild animals carry the risk of rabies.
rabies is more common in raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes than in cats
and dogs. Rabbits, squirrels and other rodents rarely carry rabies. 5)
possible, ask the pet owner for the pet's vaccination record (record
of shots). An animal that appears
healthy and has been vaccinated should still be quarantined (kept
away from people and other animals) for 10 days to make sure it
doesn't start showing signs of rabies. If the animal gets sick
during the 10-day period, a veterinarian will test it for rabies. If
the animal does have rabies, you will need to get a series of rabies
animal is a stray, or you can't find the owner of the dog or cat
that bit you, call the animal control
agency or health department in your area. They will try to find the
animal so it can be tested for rabies.
animal control agency or health department can't find the animal
that bit you, if the animal shows signs of rabies after the bite, or
if a test shows that the animal has rabies, your doctor will
probably decide to give you a series of rabies shots.
You need to get the first shot as
soon as possible after the bite occurs. After the first shot, there
will need to be 5 more shots over a 28-day period.
|This wild fox exhibited symptoms including agitation, and excessive salivation, and was diagnosed as suffering from rabies. In 2001, wild animals accounted for 93% of reported cases of rabies; rabid raccoons were the most frequently reported - 37.2%, followed by skunks - 30.7%, bats - 17.2%, foxes - 5.9%, and other wild animals, including rodents and lagomorphs - 0.7%. Photo and text courtesy of the CDC
Tetanus (Td) injection should be
given within 24 hrs. of the bite if the patient has not had a
tetanus immunization in the last 5 years.
|In the News...
Dogs are more likely to bite than cats, but cat bites are
more likely to cause infection "In
2003, there were 3,400 dog bites reported in the U.S., Many of the bites
reported occurred despite pet owners' insistence that their dogs would
not bite." (4) "Dog
bites typically cause a crushing-type wound because of their rounded
teeth and strong jaws. An adult dog can exert 200 pounds per square inch
(psi) of pressure, with some large dogs able to exert 450 psi. Such
extreme pressure may damage deeper structures such as bones, vessels,
tendons, muscle, and nerves. The sharp pointed teeth of cats usually
cause puncture wounds and lacerations that may inoculate bacteria into
Children: Beware of pets you know
In a recent study of children who had been bitten by a dog, the children were more likely to be bitten by dogs they knew --their own pet or the pet of a friend. Most of the children had injuries to the face, head and neck area with 27 percent requiring hospitalization. The study showed that the number of dog attacks on children decreases with age and is highest at 1 year of age. The reason is clear.
Toddlers are much more likely than older children to unintentionally aggravate dogs, who may then react as dogs do -- by biting. Based on their findings, the researchers and other experts have made the following recommendations: Postpone purchasing the family dog until the youngest child reaches the age of 5.
Once a family is ready for a dog, give careful consideration of the breed. For instance, in this study German Shepherds and Dobermans
were more than five times as likely to bite children compared to other breeds such as a labrador retriever or a mixed-breed dog. Parents should supervise toddlers and dogs at all times and teach small children how to handle a dog responsibly.
Always let a dog sniff you before petting it, don't run past dogs you don't know, and
never try to break up a dog fight.
from emedicine.com Author:
Jack Stump, MD, Consulting Staff, Department of Emergency
Medicine, Southwest Washington Medical Center
Cat and Dog bites
FamilyDoctor.org. This is a good patient handout detailing
all the important considerations related to cat and dog bites.
Allergic Contact Rashes
from the American Academy of
the U.S. Postal Service
Animal Bites from the
Animal Bites from
- Learn how to avoid dog bites, and how to prevent your dog from biting from the Humane Society
BAMI is an up-to-date educational source for patient education. Health care providers may feel free to print out copies for their patient's use. Please note that content may not be copied for resale or other commercial use such as for web sites. The content on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.
Display of an advertisement does not imply an endorsement of the product.
©2015 Bay Area Medical Information (BAMI.us)™ All Rights Reserved
Google | Yahoo | MSN | AOL | Netscape | Earthlink | Dogpile | All the Web | AltaVista