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Bite, Animal, Emergency Medicine

Daniel T. Wu Reviewed 06/2017



  • Most bites are from provoked animals.

  • Dog bite wounds:

    • Large dogs inflict the most serious wounds (pit bulls cause the most human fatalities).

    • Most fatalities in children (70%) due to b...


Signs and Symptoms

  • Distribution of mammalian bites:

    • Dog bites represent 80–90% of all bites.

    • Cat bites represent 5–15% of all bites.

    • Human bites represent 2–5% of all bites (see “Human Bite” cha...



Apply pressure to any bleeding wound 

Initial Stabilization/Therapy

  • Achieve hemostasis on any bleeding wound.

  • Airway stabilization if bite located on face or neck

Ed Treatment/Procedures



Admission Criteria

  • All bites:

    • Infected wounds at presentation

    • Severe/advancing cellulitis/lymphangitis

    • Signs of systemic infection

    • Infected wounds that have failed to respond to outpat...

Pearls and Pitfalls

Animal bites must be reported to authorities in many localities. 

Additional Reading

  • Baddour  L. Soft tissue infections due to dog and cat bites. UpToDate.  2009.

  • Brook  I. Microbiology and management of human and animal bite wound infections. Prim Care.  2...



  • 873.40 Open wound of face, unspecified site, without mention of complication

  • 874.8 Open wound of other and unspecified parts of neck, without mention of complication

  • 882.0 Open wound of hand e...

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