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Treating an Animal BiteFirst Aid Kit

Most people are bitten by pets.  Dogs and cats are the cause of most bites on human beings, and the pet can be ours, belong to a neighbor, or be a stray.  You should seek out medical attention as soon as possible.  There are bacteria, at the very least, in any animal’s mouth, and these can cause infections quite rapidly.  Before leaving for the doctor, however, as long as the wound is not serious, wash it off with soap and water.  This will help to remove quite a lot of potentially dangerous matter.  If someone else will be cleaning the wound, they should wear rubber gloves or wash their hands before and after tending you.

Dealing with an Animal BiteDog And Cat Bites

Domestic animals will bite for any number of reasons – if they are ill or injured, if they are frightened, if they are being beaten, or if they have an aggressive personality.  While most bites from pets are from dogs, some medical authorities feel that a cat bite can actually be more serious.  The teeth of a cat are narrow and very sharp and will often penetrate farther than those of a dog, carrying bacteria farther into the victim’s flesh.

If the wound is shallow, and the animal is yours, you can probably just clean it carefully, apply antibiotic cream, and cover with gauze.  At any sign of infection, however, a doctor should be consulted.  Often, topical antibiotics will not be sufficient, and the bite victim will need a round of oral antibiotics.  In some cases, intravenous antibiotics have been administered. Always make sure to have a first aid kit containing all of these and have the kit ready and available at all times.

Deeper wounds, wounds that are bleeding heavily, or ragged wounds will need to be seen and attended to by medical personnel. 

A bite from a strange dog or cat must be treated by a doctor, as there will be a risk of rabies.  Likewise, wounds to the hand or fingers will need medical attention because of possible damage to the tendons or bones.  Bites on the face or neck must also be taken care of by a doctor.

Wild Animal Bites

Most wild animal bites are from smaller animals such as raccoons, skunks, and foxes.  If you or a family member is bitten by a wild animal, you will need to get medical attention right away, even if the wound seems insignificant.  There is always the danger of rabies in wild animals, and treatment will have to begin immediately to safeguard the health and life of whoever was bitten.
First Aid Cabinet
Rabies is not the only danger from a wild animal bite, however, and tetanus is another possibility.  Tetanus is a bacterial disease, and while it is possible to treat it with antibiotics once contracted, a preventive vaccination is better.  If the bite victim has not had a tetanus shot within the previous 5 years, a booster shot will generally be given.

Wild animals generally try to avoid contact with people, and it is usually only sick animals that will approach a human.  If a wild animal approaches you, even if it is not acting with obvious aggression, leave the area immediately and call animal control or law enforcement; the animal may be suffering from rabies.

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