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Animal bites: what to do if you are bitten by a dog or cat

Animal bites: what to do if you are bitten by a dog or cat


Any animal can behave unpredictably. Animal bites can cause serious illness and even be fatal.

What should know about animal bites?

animal bites

The bite of an animal is a wound on the skin, formed as a result of puncture by the teeth of animals. Such injuries can damage the skin, nerves, tendons, muscles, and bones. Statistics show that 60-90% of bites are caused by a dog.

The bite of an animal does not often lead to death. However, a bite can trigger the development of certain diseases and infections. The most dangerous are the bites of snakes, dogs, monkeys. Poisonous animals (snakes, scorpions, spiders) in many countries are the causes of death.

Everyone is susceptible to bites, but children and teenagers are more likely to suffer.

More bites occur in the warm season. Usually, the animal bites, if it is provoked to protect it. Animals infected with rabies bite for no reason. Dangerous predatory animals can pounce on humans if they see prey in them.

Rabies is mainly transmitted through the bite of wild animals. However, pets are also carriers of this virus. After each bite by any animal, it is necessary to provide first aid correctly, to undergo treatment and, if necessary, consult a doctor.



Symptoms and diagnosis of bites

The main symptoms of a bite are pain and bleeding. When the bite site heals, a hematoma or bump may remain. An infection or bacteria can enter a person's blood through a bite from the animal's saliva.

Symptoms of infection:

  • Redness of the skin near the wound
  • Pain and burning
  • The bite site is swollen
  • Purulent discharge
  • Fever
  • Desensitization

In the event of these symptoms, you should immediately seek professional help from doctors. The doctor needs to be told how and by whom the bite was committed. The doctor looks at the wound and determines the possibility of damage to the muscles, joints, bones, tendons. For additional diagnostics, an x-ray is used; a doctor can take a sample of tissue to examine and identify the infection.

Dog and Cat Bites

Dog bites, according to statistics, are more susceptible to children. As a result of bites, they often get neck and head injuries. It is considered that dogs are much more dangerous and more aggressive than cats and few people think about whether cat bites are dangerous.

In fact, cat bites are more dangerous than dog bites. After a cat bite, hospitalization is required in most cases.

This is explained by several factors:

  1. The anatomical structure of cat teeth. The cat has sharp teeth and leaves deep puncture wounds. 85% of cat bites occur on the arm, where the depth of the puncture can reach the joint or tendons.
  2. The composition of the microflora of the oral cavity of cats. Despite the fact that cats are considered as ambitious animals, their mouth contains more microbes than dogs. The overwhelming majority are microbes that cause severe reactions (Escherichia coli, streptococcus golden)
  3. Difficulty in accessing wound disinfectants and drugs. Doctors often have to cut the bite site to sanitize and cure a wound.

From a cat bite, you can become infected not only with rabies, but also with a disease like cat scratch fever. This is an infectious disease, it is not very common, it affects people with a weak immune system. Symptoms of infections derived from cat bites are headache, swelling and redness of the bite site, inflammation of the lymph nodes, and fever.

Possible effects of animal bites

If a domesticated animal has bitten, then the bite most likely will not lead to serious consequences. But if you are bitten by a wild animal or a non-vaccinated domestic animal, you should contact the health facility within 24 hours to avoid serious health problems. If necessary, the doctor will suture and make injections for rabies and tetanus. Paramedics also prescribe antibiotics to such patients for prophylactic purposes, especially when there is a risk of infection. Only a doctor after examination and diagnosis will be able to determine how to treat the bite.

For medical assistance for any bite should contact people with the following chronic diseases:

  • Diabetes
  • Diseases of the liver, lungs, heart
  • Arthritis
  • Poor blood clotting
  • Crayfish
  • Immunodeficiency

The possible consequences of animal bites are rabies and tetanus. The incubation period for rabies is from 7 days and can reach up to a year. The disease usually appears 30–90 days after the bite.

In time, a vaccinated animal does not pose a threat of infection with this virus. Rabies in humans after being bitten by a dog or other animal is an incurable disease that can be fatal. Only a timely vaccination and a course of treatment can save the bitten person.

How rabies manifests itself:

  1. Increased body temperature
  2. Insomnia
  3. Irritability
  4. Feeling of fear
  5. Lack of air
  6. Headaches
  7. Deformation of consciousness
  8. Inadequate behavior and reaction
  9. Hallucinations and convulsions
  10. Aggressiveness
  11. Too active salivation, which is difficult to swallow.
  12. Vomiting
  13. Fear of water
Rabies leads to death. Paralysis develops, respiratory and cardiac arrest occur. The greatest risk of developing rabies is from a bite to the face (about 60%), with bites on the leg - 10%.

The incubation period for tetanus can be from two to 60 days. The disease manifests itself in violation of the motor function of the mandible, it becomes difficult to chew and swallow. Sometimes there is pain in the muscles of the back and abdomen.

Gradually, there is a state of permanent increased muscle tension. First of all, the facial muscles are affected, which leads to a constant forced smile. Death occurs in a few days due to painful convulsions of the whole body.

Infection from the animal can be transmitted not only through the bite. Do not give suspicious animals to lick themselves. The infection can get into minor wounds on a person’s skin through the saliva of an animal. Even a bite without blood, when saliva hits the skin, can be dangerous.

What if the animal has bitten?

No one is insured against animal bites. Even domestic animals, by virtue of their natural instincts, can bite, especially if provoked to do so. Therefore, you should know what to do with a bite.

Before giving the first aid to the bitten one should wear gloves or use any waterproof material to avoid possible infection. Hands should be washed with soap and water before and after assisting.

First aid consists in stopping bleeding, treating a wound, applying a bandage. The wound should be washed with warm water and soap, and after stopping the bleeding, disinfect. Then bandage, but do not glue up the wound so as not to damage the torn tissue. It is also impossible to rub a wound.

How to treat a wound? The washed wound should be treated with iodine-containing drug and antibacterial ointment. If the wound is bleeding, press a gauze bandage moistened with hydrogen peroxide to the site of the bite for 2-3 minutes.

Small scratches from animals should also be carefully handled. Even through a small crack, an infection can enter the bloodstream.

Where to go after a bite? If the wounds are serious and deep, you should immediately contact any nearest medical facility, or call an ambulance. In the case of small wounds, after their treatment, you should also see a doctor. Important and proper first aid to the victim.

Precautions for handling animals

In order to avoid animal bites, follow a few simple rules:

  1. It is important to remember that it is impossible to predict the behavior of animals, you should be careful and attentive when dealing with them.
  2. You can not feed animals in zoos, pushing their limbs or face.
  3. Children need to explain that you can not tease animals, even pets. You can not bring close to them face, pull the tail, etc.
  4. Adults should control the communication of children with animals.
  5. You can not touch and play with sick or suspicious animals.
  6. When approaching the dog should try to remain calm, wait until the dog passes, do not look into her eyes and run. The sting of a stray dog ​​is the most dangerous and requires immediate medical attention.
  7. Do not disturb the animal if it eats or sleeps. Domestic pets should be vaccinated against rabies.
  8. You can’t catch wild animals on your own.

Do not approach animals with signs of rabies - strong salivation, uncertain movements, aggressive or too submissive behavior. It is necessary to call a special service that deals with animal capture.

Responsibility of the hosts for animals

Each owner is responsible for his pet. For pets, proper and constant care is important. The animal must be vaccinated. If the animal has bitten, the owner may be sued for compensation for material and moral damage.

Also for the owner the following sanctions are provided:

  1. Fine. The size of the penalty is determined by the court.
  2. Arrest up to 6 months
  3. Mandatory or correctional work
  4. Restraint up to 3 years

The animal is subject to medical examination and when rabies is detected, the animal is killed.

Handle animals should be careful not to tease and provoke them. In the case of a bite, even shallow, you need to seek help from a medical institution.


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