Tips for Health

Bites From Cats and Dogs

By on June 13, 2012 in Health, Prevention with 0 Comments


How should I care for a bite of a cat or a dog?

Here are some things you should do to care for a wound caused by a cat or dog:

  1. If necessary, call your doctor.
  2. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
  3. Apply pressure with a clean towel to the injured area to stop any bleeding.
  4. Apply a sterile bandage over the wound.
  5. Keep the injury elevated above heart level to reduce swelling and prevent infection.
  6. Report the incident to the authority in your community, for example, the animal control office or police.
  7. Apply antibiotic ointment to the area twice a day until it heals.

What will my doctor do?

Here are some things your doctor can do to treat a dog bite or cat:

  1. Examine the wound for possible nerve damage, tendon or bone injury. The doctor will also check for signs of infection.
  2. Clean the wound with a special solution and remove any damaged tissue.
  3. You can use stitches to close a bite wound, but often the wound is left open to heal so that you reduce the risk of infection.
  4. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection.
  5. May give you a tetanus shot if you had your last shot more than five years.
  6. May ask you another appointment in your office to evaluate the wound again in a day or two.
  7. If your injury is severe, or if the infection has not improved despite the fact that you are taking antibiotics, your doctor may suggest that you go to see a specialist or hospital, or only the latter, where can give you special medicine directly into the veins (intravenous antibiotics) and further treatment if necessary.

Call your doctor if any of these situations:

  1. Has a cat bite. Cat bites often cause infection. You do not need to call your doctor for a cat scratch, unless you think the wound is infected.
  2. It has a dog bite on his hand, foot or head or have a bite that is deep or being opened.
  3. You have diabetes, liver disease or lung cancer, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or other condition that may weaken their ability to fight infection.
  4. Have any signs of infection such as redness, swelling, warmth, increased tenderness, oozing of pus from the wound or fever.
  5. You have bleeding that does not stop after 15 minutes of pressure, or think you may have a broken bone, nerve damage or other serious injury.
  6. Your last tetanus shot put it over five years. If so, you may need a booster shot.
  7. You were bitten by a wild animal or a pet (such as a pet) is not known whether he had been vaccinated.

Will I need a rabies shot?

Probably not. Rabies is rare in dogs and cats in the United States If a dog or cat that bit you appeared to be healthy at the time of the bite, it is highly unlikely that the animal had rabies. However, it is good idea to take some precautions if a cat or dog has bitten.

If you know the owner of the dog or cat that bit you ask for the registration of pet vaccination. An animal that appears healthy and has been vaccinated must be quarantined for ten days to make sure it does not start showing signs of rabies. If the animal becomes ill during the period of ten days, a veterinarian will be tested for rabies. If the animal has rabies, you will need to get a series of rabies shots.

If the animal is a stray, or did you can not find the owner of the dog or cat that bit you, call the animal control agency or health department where you live. They will try to find the animal so that it can be tested for rabies.

If the animal control agency or health department can not find the animal that bit you, if the animal shows signs of rabies after being bitten, or if a test shows that the animal has rabies, your doctor will probably want you get a series of rabies shots which also known as post-exposure prophylaxis. You need to get the first shot as soon as possible after the bite occurs. After you receive the first shot, your doctor will give you five more shots over a period of 28 days.


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