Dog Bite Treatment (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- How many dog bites occur?
- Who is at risk for a dog bite?
- What should I do if someone is bitten by a dog?
- When should I call the doctor for a dog bite?
- What is the treatment for a dog bite?
- How can dog bites be prevented?
- Safety tips to prevent dog bites
- Dog Bites At A Glance
- Find a local Doctor in your town
How can dog bites be prevented?
Dog bites often occur when there is miscommunication between the dog and the victim. It is not common to have an unprovoked attack by a stray dog. Often, it is the dog owner or a family member who is bitten.
Dog bite prevention begins with:
- Choosing a dog breed that is compatible with the family situation.
- Aggressive dogs may not be appropriate in a home with infants and small
- Dogs are social animals; therefore socializing and appropriate training will
help minimize the risk of dog bites.
Safety tips to prevent dog bites
- Do not approach a stray or unfamiliar dog, especially if its owner is not
- Do not approach a dog with quick motions or from above. Allow time for the
dog to acknowledge your presence before attempting to pet it.
- Prior to contact with the dog, ask the owner if is OK to pet the dog.
- If a confrontation occurs, do not make eye contact and do not run or scream.
- Do not approach an unfamiliar dog while it is eating, sleeping, or
caring for puppies.
- Do not leave young children or infants unsupervised with a dog.
Dog Bites At A Glance
- Dog bites account for more than 90% of all animal bites. 4.5 million dog
bites occur each year in the U.S., and more than 30,000 victims require
- Injuries may involve structures deep beneath the skin including muscles,
bones, nerves, and blood vessels.
- Infections, including tetanus and
rabies, need to be considered.
- Wound cleaning decreases the risk of infection.
- Skin repair increases the risk of infection, and the decision to suture the skin balances the risk of infection versus the benefit of a better appearing scar.
Reference: Centers for Disease Control, "Dog Bite Prevention," May 14, 2009
Last Editorial Review: 7/8/2009
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