Animal Bites

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Information about Animal Bites

Published on November 14, 2009

Author: aSGuest31270


Animal Bites : Animal Bites An animal bite can result in a break in the skin, a bruise, or a puncture wound. Rabies is a rare but potentially deadly disease spread through the saliva of a rabid animal. There is no cure for rabies once symptoms develop. But, if vaccinated promptly after being bitten, you can develop immunity before symptoms develop. Causes : Causes Pets are the most common cause of bites, with dog bites occurring most often. Cat bites may have a higher chance of infection (due to their longer, sharper teeth, which can produce deeper puncture wounds). Stray animals and wild animals, such as skunks, raccoons, and bats, also bite thousands of people each year. If you are bitten by a wild animal or an unknown pet, try to keep it in view while you notify animal control authorities for help in capturing it. They will determine if the animal needs to be impounded and checked for rabies. Any animal whose rabies vaccination status is unknown should be captured and quarantined. Symptoms Possible symptoms include: : Symptoms Possible symptoms include: Even if a bite does not break the skin, it may cause crushing and tearing injury to underlying bone, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves. If the skin is broken, there is the additional possibility of infection. Signs of an infection include: Warmth around the wound Swelling Pain Discharge of pus Redness around a puncture wound Signs of damage to tendons or nerves include: An inability to bend or straighten the finger A loss of feeling over the tip of the finger Diagnosis : Diagnosis A physician should be contacted and told how the bite was received and to ask what treatment is needed. The physician will wash the wound area thoroughly and check for signs of nerve or tendon damage. The arm may be examined to see whether there are signs of a spreading infection. First Aid : First Aid Calm and reassure the person. Wear latex gloves or wash your hands thoroughly before attending to the wound. Wash hands afterwards, too. If the bite is not bleeding severely, wash the wound thoroughly with mild soap and running water for 3 to 5 minutes. Then, cover the bite with antibiotic ointment and a clean dressing. If the bite is actively bleeding, apply direct pressure with a clean, dry cloth until the bleeding stops. Raise the area of the bite. If the bite is on the hand or fingers, call the doctor right away. Over the next 24 to 48 hours, watch the area of the bite for signs of infection (increasing skin redness, swelling, and pain). If the bite becomes infected, call the doctor or take the person to an emergency medical center. Prevention : Prevention Teach children not to approach strange animals. Do not provoke or tease animals. DO NOT go near an animal that may have rabies. DO NOT try to catch it yourself. Never pet, handle or feed unknown animals Vaccinate your cats, ferrets and dogs against rabies Get a tetanus booster if you have not had one recently Wear boots and long pants when you are in areas with venomous snakes Causes: : Causes: Dog, cat, and human bites are the most common animal bites in the U.S. Black widow and brown recluse spider bites can cause severe reactions. Deer tick bites can cause Lyme disease, a bacterial infection. Less common, but more dangerous, are bites from skunks, raccoons, bats, and other animals that live in the wild. These animals can have rabies. This is a serious viral infection. It can be fatal. Most house pets are vaccinated for rabies. It's unlikely they carry the virus. Mosquito bites can cause West Nile virus if the mosquito is infected with it. Snake bites can be fatal if the bite is from a poisonous snake (e.g., rattlesnakes, cotton mouths, copperheads, and coral snakes). Shark bites are a potential problem when swimming in shark-infested waters.

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