Urgent Care Arthritis

I Was Bitten By An Animal - Should I See A Doctor?

If you are suddenly bitten by an animal, it is far from an enjoyable experience. This is true regardless of whether or not this occurred during an interaction with your family pet, or it happened with an animal that you did not have any previous history with.

In addition to the pain that exists from your bite, it will be critical that you treat it properly. It will also be important for you to understand the potential issues that can result from receiving an animal bite if you do not seek medical care. Especially in situations where it is recommended.

Dog Bites

According to the Center For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), 36% of all households own a dog. While these family pets usually provide excellent companionship, even the dogs that we know can bite. Over 50% of all dog bites occur in our homes,  children are bitten more frequently than adults, and a dog is also more likely to bite a man than a woman. When these bites do occur, the injuries can be more severe. One out of every five people who are bitten by a dog will need medical attention, and dog bites do deliver the potential for infection, pain, injury, or nerve damage.

If you are bitten by a dog that you know, or if you are walking down the street and an unknown dog suddenly bites without warning there are immediate steps that you should follow in order to reduce the risk of infection.

You should carefully press on the wound with the goal of causing some bleeding in order to also rid yourself of as much bacteria as you can. You should also wash the wound with mild soap and water, then wrap the wound after it has been cleaned and keep it bandaged until you have seen a doctor. It is also important that you also continue to look for signs of infection.

It is also very likely that you should seek medical attention on the same day that the bite occurs, as many dog bites that create an open, jagged wound can cause complications if the wound becomes infected. Around 50% of all dog bites will inject bacteria into your system. If the dog has not been vaccinated it could also be transferring rabies. As a result, if you are unfamiliar with the dog that bit you, this is something that your doctor will absolutely need to know.

Cat Bites

The CDC also estimates that nearly 40 million households in the United States contain cats as pets. A cat bite may not initially appear to be as serious as a dog bite, but a cat’s teeth are very sharp. When they bite, this injects bacteria into your system more deeply, which increases the potential for a serious infection to occur.

If you for a member of your family has been bitten by a cat, the steps are very similar to those that should occur after other animal bites. You should place pressure on the area, clean it, and bandage it similar to how you respond to a dog bite. You should also continue to observe the area surrounding the bite in case you see redness, swelling or anything that is oozing from the wound.

However, it is highly recommended that you see a doctor soon after being bitten by a cat in order to determine if you have experienced an infection. It is also possible that the wound will need stitches.

Other Animal Bites

One quick note concerning other animals beyond dogs and cats. While it is always wise to see medical attention if you have been bitten by an animal that you do not know, this is definitely true with bites from a wild animal such as a skunk, fox, raccoon or bat. The possibility of contracting rabies will increase in these circumstances, and there is an additional note of caution regarding bats. This is due to the frequency with which they can carry rabies, and can infect you even if you do not appear to have received a bite.

What A Doctor Will Do

As mentioned previously it is wise to visit a physician if you have been bitten in order to ensure that you avoid any complications from an infection. You should see a physician if the area surrounding the bite is red, swollen, or is draining fluid. It is also important to seek medical attention if you believe that there may be damage to bone tendons or nerves due to the bite or if you are having difficulty bending or straightening the part of your body that was bitten.

It is very possible that the doctor will give you antibiotics in order to make sure that an infection does not occur. In addition to providing you with antibiotics to combat any potential infection, a physician will ensure that the wound is sufficiently clean. He or she might numb the wound in order to make sure that there is no additional damage in the area, and will supply stitches in situations where that is necessary. A tetanus shot will also be given if there is any concern about infection, and the rabies vaccine will be administered if there is any risk that you have been exposed to this virus.

At Rapid Med Urgent Care We Can Help

If you have any questions or concerns about animal bites or any other health issues that you may be facing, they can be addressed by contacting or visiting an urgent care center such as Rapid Med Urgent Care Center. We understand that your health and your personal peace-of-mind are both extremely important. There is a reason that we are called Rapid Med Urgent Care Center and we make your comfort and care our top priority from the moment that you visit us. We also provide you with the option of discussing your problems or concerns simply by contacting us through our On Demand service.

Other health issues your child may have that we can assist you with at Rapid Med Urgent Care Center:

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Phil Clark
Phil’s experience as a writer enabled him to generate advertising and marketing material throughout his career in the television industry before he expanded his level of knowledge by creating various promotional elements for all forms of media in other industries. He has also produced articles that have been published in numerous publications and websites, including usatoday.com, and USA Today’s football magazine, where he wrote weekly columns and player profiles for multiple years. He has also worked with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Vizio, and has a BS in Broadcasting from Indiana State University.
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