Every year, approximately 4 million people are bitten by dogs. Most of these people are children. Aside from the physical injuries of lacerations and bruising, dog bites can cause infections and disease, especially for individuals with certain health conditions.
For example, someone with a chronic disease, diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression, liver dysfunction or systemic lupus can experience a high risk of infection after a dog bite. Doctors recommend treatment with antibiotics following a dog bite wound.
Another concern is the risk of rabies. If the dog has not been vaccinated for rabies, or if the dog’s vaccination history is unknown, the dog should be quarantined for 10 days to determine whether it is positive for rabies. If the dog cannot be quarantined, a rabies vaccination for the victim is recommended.
With dog bites, as with most injuries, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Teach children to be careful around animals, even if the animal appears to be friendly. Should a bite occur, seek medical attention.