Dog Bite Treatment, Infection, First Aid
Incidence of dog bite is quite common considering that dogs live in close proximity to humans. Dogs are known to be man’s best friend after all. There are over 77 million dogs in the United States and almost half of all American households own a dog. A significant amount of dog biting incidents are reported each year, either by their own family dog, the neighbor’s dog or stray dogs. One should take extra care in dealing with dogs because one bite can become fatal.
Dog Bite Infection
All dogs will naturally bite when they feel threatened or challenged and these injuries range from minor to severe. Almost 5 million people in the United States are victims of dog bites and infections may likely occur especially when these bites are not treated right away. Dog bites contain a lot of bacteria that cause the wound to get infected. Here are the bacteria that may cause infection in the bitten area; Staphylococcus, Eikenella, Klebsiella, Moraxella, Prevotella, Fusobacterium, Capnocytophaga Canimorsus, Pasteur Ella, Streptococcus, Proteus, Haemophilus, Enterobacter, Porphyromonas, Bacteroides, Corynebacterium, and Neisseria.
When the bitten person feels swelling and redness in the bitten area, it is a first sign of a wound infection. Inflammation usually develops after 8 hours of the dog bite. Once bitten, go to the nearest doctor to get the wound disinfected. An infected dog bite when not treated can result to death.
Most dogs are infected with rabies. When bitten, the virus is transmitted to humans through the dog’s saliva. Once infected by the rabies, it attacks the nervous system. The first sign of infection is hallucination, followed by sweating, headache and fever. The first 8 days after the incident is very vital. The infected person should seek immediate help because when the first signs of rabies infection develop, there will be no treatment available and thus may lead to death.
Tetanus is unlikely to occur due to dog bites. Some signs of infections are headache, muscle swelling and pain in the wounded area. Most children nowadays receive tetanus booster shots as part of the vaccination schedule. But once bitten it is still best to take anti-tetanus shots to prevent further complications.
Another common dog bite infection is sepsis or also known as blood poisoning. This type of infection can be life threatening. It is caused by bacterial infection that spread through the blood stream and may cause infection to different organs. Sepsis infection should be treated right away to avoid fatal consequences.
First Aid for Dog Bite
When bitten or scratched by dogs which causes skin wound, it is best to apply first aid treatment to avoid the possibility of spreading the infection. Here are steps in giving first aid when you see a person attacked by dogs:
• Keep the victim calm. When the victim is calm, it’s easier to treat the wound and the spread the infectious bacteria throughout the blood stream will be slowed down.
• Survey the intensity of the wound.
• Wash your hands before attending an injured person.
• For minor wound injuries wash the wound with soap and running water and apply disinfectant cream to prevent further infections.
• For deep wounds which are badly torn, stop the bleeding by putting pressure in the wounded area and clean it extensively and immediately run to the nearest hospital.
• Apply ice on swelling wounds.
• Check the animal that bit the injured person whether it is a pet or a stray dog. If it is a pet, find out if it is immunized or not, and know when the last date of immunization was.
• If it is a stray dog, contact your animal control department and let them observe the dog for any possibility of rabies infection.
Treating a Dog Bite
Treatment of dog bite wounds varies on the severity of the wound. If it is just a minor scratch, just apply anti bacterial cream around the infected area but if it is a severe case of dog bite, seek medical help right away. Steps the doctor will do in treating a dog bite:
• The first thing a medical doctor would do is examine the wounded area for any possible tendon damage, nerve damage, or bone injuries.
• Then, the doctor will check for any signs of infection.
• If damaged tissues are present, it will be removed and cleaned. The wounds will be disinfected with a special solution.
• The doctor will then stitch the wounds to keep it close but in some cases the wound is left open to heal and it lowers the risk of any further infections.
• After the wound gets treated the doctor will prescribe the patient with antibiotics.
• If the last tetanus shot was five years ago you will be given a new shot to avoid tetanus infection.
• You will be asked to come back after 2 days to see if the treatment is going well.
• If the wound is not getting better after two days while taking antibiotic drugs, the doctor may suggest you seek the help of a specialist, so they can provide you the right medications and treatment.
Preventing a Dog Bite
Most dog bites can be avoided or prevented. Usually dogs attack because wrong impression of actions. A wrong gesture can provoke dogs to attack. And half of the victims of dog bites are children. Here are some guidelines to prevent a dog bite:
• Never leave your children unattended with dogs. Children are usually playful and may cause irritation to dogs which result into biting.
• Keep your pets on leash while walking on public places.
• Avoid approaching stray animals.
• Do not disturb dogs when they are eating or sleeping. They easily get irritated.
• Before getting a pet, be careful in choosing the right breed for you. Some dogs are hard to tame. And don’t forget to get the vaccinations up to date for the safety of your dog and your family.
• When approached by an unfamiliar dog, stand still and wait until the dog walks away
• When you get knocked down by a dog, immediately turn into a stone position. Keep your head covered and legs and hands keep close together. Wait until the dog goes away.
It’s in the nature of the animals to protect themselves when they feel provoked. Preventing any future dog bite is better than treating one. So always be careful when dealing with dogs even if it’s the family pet. Dogs will always be dogs no matter how well trained they are.