Managing Animal Bites

Dog bites account for over 80% of animal bite wounds while cats account for around 10%.  Over 70% of these are caused by pets known to the victim.  Animal bite wounds are contaminated due to the amount of bacteria in the animal’s mouth and claws, and therefore proper wound treatment is essential to prevent secondary infection.  Infection is higher risk in people who have diabetes or with lower immunity such as those on cancer treatment or immunosuppression medication such as steroids.

Click to view TopDocTalks video on Treating Dog and Cat Bites

First Aid Management

For shallow bites or scratches;

  • Wash the wound with running water and soap for 5 minutes to flush out bacteria and dirt
  • Apply antiseptic or antibiotic cream or ointment
  • Apply a dressing or plaster over the wound
  • Observe gradual healing and watch out for worsening such as redness, pain to touch, swelling, weeping or pus coming out of the wound
  • Consider taking a course of oral Antibiotics (such as Augmentin) as prophylaxis against getting infection

For deeper bites,

  • Wash the wound with running water and soap for 5 minutes
  • Apply compression if there is bleeding until it stops
  • Apply a dressing or plaster over the wound
  • See your local Doctor in case you may need to have suturing
  • Ask your Doctor if you need a Tetanus booster vaccination (most Tetanus vaccination gives you protection for around 5-8 years so it important to remember your last dose)

Go to a Hospital immediately if the wound has the following signs;

  • Profuse bleeding
  • Numbness of the affected limb (such as your fingers or toes)
  • Loss of skin tissue
  • Ligaments or bone can be seen in the wound
  • You feel faint or have fever and chills

Click to view Mayo Clinic video on Cat Bites and Wound Care

See your doctor if your wound is serious

Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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