Dog bite treatment should be required knowledge for anyone that lives around dogs. Many people believe that most dog bites occur away from home, by a dog not familiar to the person bitten. This is just not the case. Most experts agree that about half of all dog bites are from a dog that the person bitten is familiar with – sometimes the family dog or a dog that belongs to the next-door neighbor.
An interesting report called "Fatal Dog Attacks, 1989-1994" states that only about 22% of "dog bite fatalities" involved an unrestrained dog off the owner's property. This flies in the face of popular beliefs.
The first step in proper dog bite treatment is to assess the situation. You must ask yourself, is this a minor incident or not? A serious dog biting attack should be deal with differently than a minor bite.
If the wound is slightly bleeding, clean the wound first then try to stop the bleeding. But if the wound is bleeding profusely, you must stop the bleeding first. Of course, in the case of a serious wound, always call 911 immediately.
If the wound is boring, you should stop that bleeding by putting pressure on the wound and then after the bleeding is stopped or greatly slowed, extensive cleaning is necessary. If bleeding resumes, reapply pressure on the wound. If you are unable to stop the bleeding get the patient to the doctor as soon as possible.
The doctor will assess the risk of infection, tetanus and rabies. Most likely 3 to 5 days of antibiotic, like Augmentin, will be prescribed to keep an infection from developing. In some cases a tetanus shot is given.
The tetanus shot will most likely be required if a child dog bite victim has not previously had 3 or more tetanus shots. However, if they have a serious bite that is not considered clean, and the patient has not had a tetanus shot in the last five years, the doctor will probably give one just to be on the safe side. Also, even if the wound is judged to be clean, and the patient has not had a boost shot in the last 10 years, the doctor will most likely give one.
These days, contracting rabies from a dog bite is rare because of the legal requirements for regular rabies vaccinations for all dogs. Rabies is more often seen in wild animals: raccoons, skunks, bats, etc … However there is still a "rabies risk" with a dog bite, and not one that you should take lightly. Better safe than sorry.
Do not be surprised if the doctor does not stitch up the wound. If there is the fear of infection, due to the length of time until the wound was cleaned, etc., she will not suture the wound. Wounds that are known to be clean or that are on the face may be sutured.
Although not necessary, it is always wise to document the bite injury with photos and diagrams. It is helpful in assessing the progress of the wound in recovery, and it is especially useful in litigation situations.
Some pre-existing medical conditions increase the risk of infection and beg special attention to insure patient safety. A few of these are: chronic disease, chronic edema of the extremity, diabetes, immuno-suppression, liver dysfunction, previous mastectomy, prosthetic valve or joint, splenectomy, systemic lupus, and many more. Be ready to tell your doctor of any such pre-existing condition
I think it would be safe to say that everyone will get at least one dog bite in their lifetime. Knowing how to execute proper dog bite treatment is knowledge that all families should possess. Just a little bit of knowledge on this topic can save a lot of pain and grief.