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- Redness around the wound
- Pus oozing from the wound
|Dog Bite to Hand|
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- Bite from any wild animal (Bites from rabbits and rodents [squirrels, mice, rats] are quite unlikely to cause rabies.)
- Cat or human bites (These are particularly prone to developing rapid and serious infection.)
- Deep or large wound
- Five or more years since your last tetanus shot
- Liver disease
- Heart or lung disease
- Arthritis or lupus
- Poor circulation
- Immune system deficiency
- Wash the wound with soap and water for at least five minutes.
- Apply pressure with a clean towel to stop the bleeding.
- If bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes, seek immediate medical care.
- Place a sterile bandage on the open area.
- Elevate the wound, keeping the area above the level of your heart to decrease swelling.
- Keep the bandage clean and dry.
- Check the wound regularly for signs of infection.
- Be aware that most animal bites are from dogs. Dog owners are most likely to be bitten by their own dog.
- Do not try to touch or restrain your own dog when it is injured or fighting with another dog.
- Never approach a dog or another animal that you are unfamiliar with. Do not pet or play with sick or strange animals.
- Do not run past a dog.
- If a dog approaches you, stay calm and let it sniff you. Do not make eye contact. Wait until the dog leaves or slowly backs away. If you are knocked to the ground, roll into a ball and protect your head and neck with your hands.
- Be alert to signs like ear position or bared teeth. These are signs that a dog may bite.
- Carefully select pets. People with children should look for animals with easy-going temperaments.
- Socialize and train your pet.
- Supervise children's interactions with animals. Teach children to respect animals and not put their faces close to a pet. Do not allow teasing or tail pulling.
- Do not wrestle with or promote aggression in your dog.
- Do not bother an animal that is eating or sleeping.
American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
The American Veterinary Medical Association http://www.avma.org
About Kids Health http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index-eng.php
Cat and dog bites. FamilyDoctor.org website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/staying-healthy/pets-animals/cat-and-dog-bites.html. Updated March 2010. Accessed November 5, 2012.
Wunner WH, Briggs DJ. Rabies in the 21st century. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2010;4(3):e591.
- Reviewer: David L Horn, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 12/2013
- Update Date: 01/13/2014