Most animal bites are minor and simple to treat but what should you do for a severe animal bite? Animal or dog bites can usually be treated with simple first aid at home to prevent the bite from being infected, which is the most common complication. Animal saliva contains millions of bacteria that can lead to an infection. As bacteria multiply, the body’s immune response causes common symptoms of infection. Swelling and inflammation are two examples. Animal bites are serious and can even be life threatening if left untreated.
Animal bites that don’t break the skin are not at risk of infection. Cuts or lacerations have a higher risk of infection. Puncture wounds caused by cats are considered to have the highest risk of infection because cat teeth can cause deep puncture wounds that are hard to clean. Since the teeth are sharp, a wound can be deep yet small, making it not easier for it to heal over. Hence this can trap bacteria inside the wound.
ANIMAL BITES INFECTION
Infection from animal bites is caused by bacteria. The bacteria can be found in the mouth or saliva of the animal. The bacteria then enter the wound after being on the skin. The bacteria can also be present in the environment.To diagnose infection from an animal bite, your doctor will ask about the bite. Your doctor can ask you the following question:
- What kind of animal bite you?
- What prompted the bite?
- Had the animal had a rabies vaccine?
- When did you have your last tetanus shot?
Your doctor might also order an X-ray to determine whether the infection has spread to the bone, especially if the bite is on the finger or hand. He also can advise you for a blood test to diagnose the Sepsis (an infection) since Sepsis and bone infection are life threatening concerns.
Apart from dogs & cats some domestic animals like- goats, camel, cow, donkey, horse, monkeys, squirrel & sheep bites can also cause infection. There are three types of infections can occur by animal bites: Minor or Bacterial infection, Tetanus or Rabies.
ANIMAL BITES INFECTION: SYMPTOMS
The most common symptoms of infection from animal bites are redness, pain, swelling, and inflammation at the site of the bite. You should seek immediate medical treatment if any of these symptoms continue for more than 24 hours.
Other symptoms of infection include:
- pus or fluid oozing from the wound
- tenderness in areas near the bite
- loss of sensation around the bite
- limited use of the finger or hand if the hand was bitten
- red streaks near the bite
- swollen lymph nodes
- fever or chills
- night sweats
- breathing difficulties
- muscle weakness or tremors
You should also seek medical treatment as soon as possible if any of these less common symptoms are present, particularly if the symptoms are not improving on their own.
ANIMAL BITES INFECTION: TREATMENT
If an animal bites you or your near one it will be a minor bite. You can treat it at home by following these steps:
- Wash the area thoroughly till 15 minutes with soap and water and clean it completely.
- Encourage bleeding from the wound- if it is not already bleeding, squeeze the wound gently to encourage it to bleed, which will help prevent bacteria entering the wound.
- Take some pain relief such as Paracetamol or ibuprofen or a combination like Ibugesic plus to reduce pain and inflammation. If an infection develops, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. A typical round of treatment will last 5 to 10 days.
TETANUS INFECTION: SYMPTOMS & TREATMENT
It is a bacterial disease affecting the central nervous system, can develop from the bacteria. This is a serious condition. Puncture wounds from animal bites are most likely to lead to tetanus. Clostridium Tetani, a bacteria that causes Tetanus. You can follow the tetanus symptoms in the patient:
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Stiff jaw muscles
- Stiff neck muscles
- Stiff in abdominal muscles
- Painful body spasms
If you vaccinated your child, he/she should have received the desired five doses of Tetanus till the age of 5+ years. Teens and adults should receive the vaccine every 10 years. If you are uncertain how long it’s been since your last shot, you should opt for another dose of the vaccine. Since Tetanus has no treatment.
ANIMALS THAT CAUSE RABIES:
Wild animals like bats, Raccoon, foxes, skunks, deer and a Wild dog can cause rabies infections. Even domestic dog and cats can also cause rabies infections if already get infected by rabies virus. Since rabies is a life-threatening viral disease- Seek medical attention if bite breaks the skin’s surface. Also seek medical attention if a bat is found in a room you were sleeping in, even if you do not see visible bites. See the prevention and treatment of Rabies.
PREVENTION OF ANIMAL BITE:
Be sure you and your children know how to deal with animals, and be sure your pets know how to deal with people. For prevention of animal bite follows the tips:
- Dogs and Cats that are used to being around lots of people are less likely to become aggressive when someone new visits your home. Animals that spend too much time alone tend to be more belligerent.
- You should teach your children not to talk to strangers, but you should teach them not to approach street or a strange animal. Even a sweet looking little kitty or puppy can leave a nasty bite or scratch.
- Not to tease the neighbor’s pet. Be sure kids know not to provoke (kick, poke, pull or chase) a street or pet animal. Also Never bother an animal that is eating, sleeping or otherwise engaged.
- If possible, send your pet to obedience school to learn how to handle aggressive tendencies.
- Be sure your pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations, so even if one of them lashes out, there will be less chance of serious infection.
- Don’t go near wild animals. Stay away from squirrels, outdoor rabbits, raccoons, monkeys and other wild animals.
Hence by following the above points, you can avoid the maximum incidences of animal bites. If you have any query or information relating to animal bites, comment on this post.