Animal bite

An animal bite can occur to anyone. It might occur while camping or hiking where a wild animal attacks to protect itself. In some cases, it can occur in the neighborhood after playing with a neighbor’s dog.

Various types of animals can cause bites on both children and adults. Most cases are caused by the family pet, but other animals can also bite such as rats, raccoons and ferrets.

What are the characteristics?

An animal bite should be assessed by a doctor. Prompt medical care might not always be possible, but it should be checked. When a bite occurs, it is vital to monitor for any signs of infection.

The following signs might indicate an infection or the presence of debris within the wound such as:

  • Warmth around the bite site
    animal-bite

    Various types of animals can cause bites on both children and adults.

  • Localized redness around the bite site
  • Fever
  • Red-colored streaks radiating away from the wound
  • Drainage of pus
  • Pain and swelling

Management of an animal bite

Irrigation

The doctor will irrigate the animal bite to cleanse it properly to prevent infection. Remember though that irrigation might not always prevent infection, but it lowers the risk. In most cases, a localized anesthetic is used to lessen the pain.

Debridement

An animal bite can cause tearing of the skin that could not be fixed. In such cases, debridement is needed to get rid of dead or infected skin and tissues that could not be repaired. A local anesthetic is used for the procedure.

Closure

Some wounds should be sutured or stitched right after a bite.

Wound care

The doctor might suggest various wound care measures depending on the injury. If the wound has been sutured, it must be kept clean and dry. The wounds that were not sutured might require daily soaking or other form of treatments.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on an animal bite is for learning purposes only. Learn to properly manage an animal bite by taking a standard first aid course with Saskatoon First Aid.

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