Home > Pet Health > Animal Bite Wounds

Animal Bite Wounds

By: Tony Lucas - Updated: 2 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Animal Bites First Aid Dog Children Cats

Each year Hospital Emergency Departments treat thousands of animal bite wounds.Dog followed closely by cat bites cause the highest percentages.

Seventy seven percent of these bites are to the face, neck or head on children under the age of ten. With the largest percentage being, face wounds generally to the lips, nose, and cheeks.

What Big Teeth You Have

Any animal that has been mistreated or feels threatened is libel to bite.Even the family pet if in pain or is provoked may retaliate.

To avoid bite accidents occurring do not leave your child to play with an animal unsupervised.

Never try to separate fighting animals as they may turn on you.

Never disturb an animal when it is sleeping by startling them, they may bite in fear unintentionally.The same applies when they are eating as they may bite to protect their meal.

Do not instantly approach a pet and expect to pat it; this particularly applies to stray pets.Even a pet on a leash may have a fear of strangers and bite.Always ask the owner if it is safe to pat the animal.

Children playing with cats and dogs should do so under constant supervision.It is easy for a dog or even a cat to become over exuberant in a game and accidentally bite causing injury.

Don't try to pick up sick or wounded animals, they may try to stop you due to pain, by the only defence they have available, their teeth.

Discretion is the Better Part of Valour

Most importantly, never run from a strange dog.Although domesticated, old instincts still dwell within the modern dog.A dog sees anyone fleeing as potential prey as its primal instincts take over.

If you must retreat from a strange dog, stand as erect as possible and do not crouch, try to appear as large as possible.Avoid direct eye contact with the dog; dogs see eye contact as a direct challenge to them.Back away in a deliberate, slow manner with no sudden movements.When you are out of harm's way inform your local Animal Control Authority.You may have been fortunate by not being bitten but the next person may not be so lucky.

When it Comes to the Crunch

If you are bitten but there is no puncture wound it does not mean damage has not been done.The design of Dog and Cat jaws give them a powerful crushing force; this can cause damage to underlying soft tissue and may lead to bruising and discomfort.If there is no break in the skin, wash the area with soap and water.Apply cold compresses to help reduce the bruising.

If the animal's teeth penetrate the skin, assess the severity of the wound.Calm and reassure the bitten person, as there will be some shock.

If the wound is not bleeding severely wash it with a mild disinfectant and allowed to soak in the disinfectant for a few minutes to kill any bacteria that may have entered the wound.If no disinfectant is available running water will do as a substitute.Cover the bite and surrounding area with a topical antiseptic ointment and apply a stick-on dressing.

If the animal's teeth have penetrated deeply or there is intense bleeding apply pressure with a clean, dry cloth to help slow the blood flow.Elevate the wounded appendage if possible and seek immediate medical attention.

If a bite is to the face, neck, or hands and looks as if it is deep or if there is a large area of damage immediately call an ambulance and attempt to staunch the blood flow.

If the wound is bad enough it may require stitches and if your tetanus vaccination is not up-to-date you will require one of those as well.

Bites of a severe nature can cause serious damage to nerves and tendons.Suspect this type of injury if the victim cannot bend and straighten their fingers or have no feeling at their fingertips.This form of injury requires immediate hospital attention.

After the wound has been attended to it is wise to keep an eye on it for the next 48 hours for signs of infection.If there is any redness around the wound and surrounding skin area, swelling or severe pain revisit your medical practitioner or the Emergency Department of your local hospital.

Infection is the Enemy

Infection is more likely to result from a cat bite as cats teeth are designed to penetrate deeply.Once they penetrate, they can carry bacteria deep into the lower tissues of the injury causing a deep-seated infection.

Bite wounds are serious and do leave people scarred for life.With sensible precautions, injury is avoidable.However, if you or someone you know is bitten, swift first aid treatment can save them a lot of suffering.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Emma
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Hello, can someone please give guidance? My son was in the park yesterday with his 11 week old cockerpoo Ralph, he was playing with another…
    12 August 2018
  • MSP
    Re: Important Vaccinations for Your Cat
    This article help me to enrich my knowledge about vaccinating of a cat and its procedures . I am thankful to you who…
    10 August 2018
  • SaferPets
    Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
    Ronel - Your Question:Jude B - thank you for your response to my posting. My kitten, Shadow (three months old) is a little…
    9 August 2018
  • Ronel
    Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
    Jude B - thank you for your response to my posting. My kitten, Shadow (three months old) is a little too boisterous for…
    8 August 2018
  • Olli
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    @Mrconehead - you either give her the dogs back or you consider you now own them and therefore you have the responsibility :(
    7 August 2018
  • Mrconehead
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Hi Where do we stand please , our daughter has left home and left us with 2 of her dogs. One needs vet med for the rest of his life and the…
    5 August 2018
  • Trish
    Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
    Hi I have 2 cats age 3 &8 just got a kitten my cats have met her and payed in same room without a problem but now 2 days…
    5 August 2018
  • Juen
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    @PBP - thanks for the heads-up. How awful for you all. it's not the dogs but the owners who are at fault. Tape it, photograph it if there is a…
    2 August 2018
  • PBP
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Just a warning to dog owners who walk their dogs in Gadebridge Park: I was there this evening with my dog Rosie a chocolate cocker spaniel and…
    31 July 2018
  • marry j
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    I am sick off pseudo dog lovers they haunting every free running dog and take them to kennels only because they are not on lead ,or locked at…
    29 July 2018
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SaferPets website. Please read our Disclaimer.