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The Real Deal on Bites

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Every year hospitals and emergency centers have an influx of people who suffer from animal bites from one source or another. These bites may be wild animals or house pets. The common carriers of rabies include raccoons, skunks, squirrels, rabbits, foxes, bats and domesticated animals that have not been inoculated.

Either way; wild or domestic, do not ignore animal bites, even if they seem quite harmless they can cause allergies and or infections.

The fact of the matter is domestic animals are responsible for most of the reported bites. Even though a dog is most likely attributed to biting, do not overlook the common house cat. Cats, especially kittens can transmit a bacterial disease known as Cat Scratch Disease when they bite or scratch. This infection normally clears up in about three weeks but will cause swollen glands around the afflicted area. There will be redness and sometimes pus seeping out of a blister or sore. The doctor you see for treatment may have to drain the fluid. He or she will prescribe an antibiotic. Though not usually very dangerous, Cat Scratch Disease can cause permanent retinitis (inflammation of the eye). A blood test will confirm the presence of Cat Scratch Disease.

General Information on all animal bites

Infections from bites can slowly creep up days after the wounds or immediately within hours depending upon the severity of the bites. Some common signs of infected bites to look out for are:

• Redness

• Red streaks around the bites

• Tenderness

• The infected area feels hot

• Swelling of the glands at the site

• Inflammation

• Pus

• Pain

For immediate first aid care of minor wounds where the skin is barely broken and you are sure the animal does not have rabies:

• Wash and clean the wound with soap and water,

• Apply an antibiotic agent,

• Elevate the bites site above the heart to avoid infection and slow down swelling

• Cover with a bandage.

But if there is heavy bleeding or the cut is deep; do not try to care for the wound on your own, bandage the wound to stop the bleeding and rush right to the emergency center of your local hospital to have the bite or bites attended to by a medical professional.

If you suspect that the animal may have rabies see your doctor immediately for a tetanus shot. Any animal that you don’t know can be considered suspect. Actually, health care specialists recommend that we all should be inoculated with the tetanus vaccine every ten years. If you have an animal bite and it was at least five years since your last inoculation your physician will recommend that you get a booster shot within 48 hours. Health care professionals will also recommend a booster shot for deep or very dirty cuts.

You will also need to see a doctor immediately after a bite if you have, diabetes, AIDS, lung disease, liver disease, cancer. or a compromised immune system.

Your doctor will also check for bone or tendon damage and the presence of infection. Depending upon the severity of the bites and the animal responsible for it, you may require sutures and even plastic surgery.


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