Thursday, June 29, 2017

Dog Medical Emergencies Survey: Are Animal Bites an Emergency?

67.57% survey participants feel that animal bites are an emergency.


The short answer is yes, animal bites are an emergency.


There is a matter of degree of trauma, of course. But not all wounds might look as serious as they really are.

There is also the matter of what species inflicted the wound. Was it a familiar or unfamiliar dog? Was it a familiar or unfamiliar cat? Was it a wild animal? Large or small?

Naturally, when Cookie, during her hunting adventures, gets bit in a lip by a mouse, I don't rush her to a vet. I don't do anything other than feel bad for her. One time she had the mouse really hanging on and couldn't shake it off.

Tiny animals such as a mouse don't have the capacity to inflict a serious injury, nor they spread rabies.

If a Chihuahua bites a Rottweiler's leg, she too isn't likely to cause any serious damage, and I'd only worry if it was an unfamiliar and/or stray.

You need to worry about potential rabies infection every time your dog gets bitten by any animal with unknown health status or vaccination history.


If something like that happens, you not only have the wound to worry about but also the potential rabies exposure. The new guidance for exposure to rabies is more reasonable now.

"New guidance in this issue of the JAVMA advises that cats and dogs that are exposed to rabies and are overdue for a vaccine can have a booster shot followed by an observation period rather than be subject to quarantine or euthanasia." ~JAVMA news

That aside, depending on the circumstances animal bites can be serious and even life-threatening. Just last month a friend of mine lost a dog after an attack by a larger off-leash dog. She did get immediate medical care, surgery and intensive treatment and yet she didn't make it. That's how bad things can get.

Even if the wound doesn't seem major, there is often more damage under the surface where it cannot be seen.


And with any animal bite, you're looking at a high risk of serious bacterial infections.


There are some circumstances when skin gets punctured during play, and your dog might not require medical care. But as a general rule, I would treat all animal bites as an emergency.



Related articles:
Dog Medical Emergencies Survey
Dog Medical Emergencies Survey Results
Is Unproductive Retching an Emergency?
Is Difficulty Breathing an Emergency?
Is Panting an Emergency?
Is Severe Pain an Emergency?
Is Limping an Emergency?
Is Vomiting Bile in the Morning an Emergency?
Is Profuse Vomiting an Emergency?
Are Convulsions or Seizures an Emergency?
Is Loss of Appetite an Emergency?
Is Reduced Activity an Emergency?
Is Severe Lethargy an Emergency?
Is Inability to Stand an Emergency?
Is Inability to Urinate an Emergency?
Are Cuts and Abrasions an Emergency?
Is Bleeding an Emergency?
Is Blood in Vomit an Emergency?
Is Fresh Blood in Stool an Emergency?
Is Black, Tarry Stool an Emergency?
Are Pale Gums an Emergency?
Is an Unresponsive Dog an Emergency?
Is Coughing an Emergency?
Is Choking an Emergency?
Is Head Pressing and Emergency?
Are Bug Stings an Emergency?
Are Spider or Snake Bites an Emergency?



Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

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