Bites, Animal and Human
Animal bite rates vary by species: dogs (60–90%), cats (5–20%), rodents (2–3%), humans (2–3%), and (rarely) other animals, including snakes.
All ages, but children > adults
- 3 to 6 million animal bites per year in the United States; account for 1% of all injury-related ED visits
- 1–2% will require hospital admission, and 20 to 35 victims die from dog bite complications, annually.
Etiology and Pathophysiology
- Dog bites are more common than cat bites; most dog bites are from a known domestic pet; ~90% of cat bites are provoked.
- Human bite wounds are typically incurred by striking another in the mouth with a clenched fist; human bites also occur incidentally (e.g., paronychia, thumb-sucking, or bites to the face, breasts, or genital areas).
- Animal bites can cause tears, punctures, scratches, avulsions, or crush injuries.
- Contamination by oral flora leads to infection.
- Clenched-fist human bites are frequently associated with the use of alcohol or drugs.
- Patients presenting >8 hours following the bite are at greater risk for infection.
- Instruct about animal hazards.
- Educate pet owners.
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