Dog, cat, and human bites are the most common bites requiring medical attention.
Description of the circumstances surrounding the bite (i.e., type and behaviour of animal) is essential.
Surgical exploration is important, particularly in wounds that are deep or wide or that potentially involve deep anatomical structures.
Cultures may be helpful if signs of infection are present.
Antibiotics are recommended for infected animal bites and, in certain circumstances, non-infected animal bites.
An animal bite is an injury caused by the mouth and teeth of an animal (including humans). There may be bruising, deep anatomical structure disruption, introduction of infectious agents, and envenomation (injection of toxin by a bite or sting).
History and exam
Key diagnostic factors
- presence of risk factors
- circumstances of animal bite
- wound description
- purulent drainage
- regional adenopathy
- necrotic tissue
- vital signs unstable
- age <14 years
- pet ownership
- high-risk groups (for rabies infection)
- immunosuppression (increased risk of infection if bitten)
- diabetes (increased risk of infection if bitten)
- previous mastectomy (increased risk of infection if bitten)
- splenectomy (increased risk of infection if bitten)
- liver disease (increased risk of infection if bitten)
1st investigations to order
- wound cultures
Investigations to consider
- blood cultures
- DNA swab
uncomplicated infected bite: not penicillin-allergic
uncomplicated infected bite: penicillin-allergic
complicated bites: not penicillin-allergic
complicated bites: penicillin-allergic
- Soft tissue injury
- Recommended immunization schedule for children and adolescents 18 years or younger
- Recommended immunization schedule for adults aged 19 years or older
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