Animal bites can occur in a variety of scenarios. The severity may depend on the type of animal. While dogs cause more bite injuries than any other animal, cat bites are more likely to become infected. Bites from wild or stray animals can cause an array of issues — varying from mild skin infections to more serious diseases, such as rabies. However, if the wound is only minor, it can be treated with routine first aid in most cases. Here’s how to properly evaluate an animal bite and the treatment options that are available.
First, stop any bleeding by applying pressure directly to the affected area with a sterile cloth or gauze. If the bleeding hasn’t ended after 15 minutes of pressure, seek immediate medical attention.
Once the bleeding finishes, clean the area by gently washing it with soap and water for three to five minutes. Afterward, apply antibiotic ointment on the wound and cover it with a sterile bandage. Check the wound for any signs of infection — including redness and swelling around the area concerned.
More severe bites may require professional medical care. In some cases, stitches may be needed immediately after the bite. Treatment may also depend on the location of the wound if a foreign object is stuck in the affected area and whether the animal has immunization records.
Make sure to check out the accompanying resource for more information on how to properly react to an animal bite.
Infographic created by Tracy Tiernan Attorney At Law
Author bio: Tracy Tiernan received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas in 1987. He went on to secure his J.D., or law degree, from The University of Tulsa in 1990. While attending law school, Tracy interned for a highly successful Personal Injury Law firm in the Tulsa area where he was involved in the litigation and trial preparation of Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation, and Criminal cases. Tracy, who was involved in a few college sports, enjoys running, participating in the occasional obstacle race, and coaching his children’s soccer teams to keep his mind sharp. He resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with his children.