Whether you’re out at the dog park, visiting a friend, or even playing with your own pets, you are always at risk of dogs, cats and other small animals biting you or your child. Below are some tips in case this ever happens to you.
These are steps you should follow for all bite wounds, whether or not you decide to seek medical treatment:
* Immediately wash the bite wound thoroughly with soap and water.
* If the wound is bleeding, apply pressure with a clean cloth or gauze pad. Once the wound has stopped bleeding, disinfect with a spray or ointment and cover with a sterile bandage.
* Take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin as necessary, following instructions on the label.
When to seek medical treatment
Sometimes bite wounds can be relatively minor in appearance. However, all animal bites pose a risk of infection or disease transmission and should be taken more seriously than similar wounds from other causes. Immediately see a doctor whenever any of the following are true:
* the animal in question is a stray, a wild animal, or one not current on rabies vaccinations;
* the bite is on the face, neck, or near a joint;
* the bite is large or deep, as puncture wounds become infected easily;
* the wound becomes infected (the wound becomes red, swollen, hot to the touch or increasingly painful);
* the person bitten has not had a tetanus shot within the past ten years (or can’t remember);
* the wound does not stop bleeding or there is torn skin (may need stitches);
* or any time when you’re not sure if you should seek medical care.
Potential for rabies
Rabies is a real disease that affects both domestic pets and wild animals including raccoons, squirrels and bats. Immediate treatment is critical. When possible, capture the animal or get the owner’s contact information so you have more details to provide to the medical provider.
Read more on animal bites:
* Preventing Animal Bites from the American Veterinary Medical Association
* Animal Bite First Aid from the Mayo Clinic
We hope you never have to experience an animal bite, but if you ever find yourself in that situation, please come see us right away! We are here 24/7 to provide you with emergency medical treatment for animal bites or anything else. ER Katy is a free-standing emergency room, and our experienced and caring staff is ready and waiting to help! Call us any time at (281) 395-9900.