Emergency Dog Bite Treatment

Dr. Tony Taylor, MD, EMBA, discusses Emergency Dog Bite Treatment.

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Dr. Tony Taylor, MD, EMBA, discusses Emergency Dog Bite Treatment.
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Featuring Dr. Tony Taylor, MD, EMBA
Emergency Dog Bite Treatment
Duration: 2 minutes, 19 seconds

Dog bite injuries are common.

Many people have pets, whether it’s dogs or cats or exotic animals.

We see many dog bites in the emergency department. Most dog bites are not serious, but sometimes they can be. Dog bites can look quite bad because dogs tend to shear as opposed to just bite.

When you arrive at your healthcare facility, your healthcare provider or emergency physician will do a thorough assessment of your wound. Dog bites can cause significant injuries to underlying structures such as the muscles and tendons, nerves, and blood vessels, or even to bones. And it’s important to get an assessment to make sure that there’s no significant injury to these areas.

The most important treatment will be the cleaning of the wound, to minimize the chances of infection. Not very often will dog bite wounds be closed primarily, either by sutures. Once they are cleaned they will be dressed. An assessment will be made whether or not you need a tetanus shot.

If you haven’t had a tetanus shot within ten years, this will be an opportune time for you to receive your tetanus shot as long as there’s no contraindications to do so. We are often asked about rabies with dog bites. It’s uncommon in domestic dogs in North America to have rabies because most dogs have received their vaccinations, and as such rabies is quite uncommon.

But if you’re concerned that the dog may be a wild dog or a non-domesticated dog, it’s important to inform your healthcare provider of that. Any time you’re bitten by a dog, it’s important to have it assessed.

There can be miimal injury to the skin and the potential for infection or underlying injury to nerves, blood vessels, muscles and tendons or bone is a distinct possibility, and you should be encouraged to seek the care of your healthcare provider.

Presenter: Dr. Tony Taylor, Emergency Physician, New Westminster, BC

Local Practitioners: Emergency Physician

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.