Kids and Animal Bites

Last updated on March 2nd, 2018 at 02:02 pm

little boy and catAnimal bites are very common in children due to their inquisitive nature.  The smaller the child is the more likely are the bites liable to be on the head and or neck – the most common place is however on the hands and arms.  The most common bites are from our domesticated animals, cats and dogs. While a family pet is a good thing for teaching responsibility, a healthy dose of respect for other families’ pets should also be taught as not all pets are as friendly as yours, especially with strangers.

Children should be taught to approach other pets carefully and always from the front, offering a hand for the animal to smell first before touching.  Wild animals are another issue entirely and it is best to be very conservative and teach your child to never go near a wild animal, no matter how “cute and cuddly” it looks.  If your child comes in proximity with a wild animal that has been “domesticated” by ownership, the same should apply. More and more now there are increasing limits on the type of wild animals allowed to be kept as pets.

Let’s get back to cats and dogs.  A dog bite can be quite severe as dogs will grab and hold on to an arm or leg and toss their heads back and forth in an effort to subdue an “enemy”.  If a dog unknown to you bites your child, and after seeking the care for the injury, you should contact your local health department as that animal will need to be investigated and sometimes placed under surveillance for several weeks.  Your own pets should be vaccinated by your vet as recommended by authorities.  Some dog bites, if severe enough, can be sutured closed but this must be done carefully and sometimes left open to avoid infection.

Cat bites while usually not as severe as dog bites, stand a greater chance of becoming infected as these are usually more of a puncture wound quality making infection a higher risk.

Contact your Doctor immediately should any bite occur for further information, but please teach your children the does and don’ts of approaching animals of all kinds.

About the Author

Dr. Joseph Skoloff received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his medical degree from The Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He is a past Vice Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, a past Chairman of the Infection Control Committee at the Loudoun Hospital Center and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In his 41 years as a practicing pediatrician he has kept hundreds of kids and families healthy and safe and plans to continue to do so for years to come. Dr. Joe believes strongly in the combined power of parent and physician working together for the health of their children. He is an advocate for children everywhere and and adheres strongly to the principles of the American Academy of Pediatrics.Dr Joe is a member of the PedSafe Expert team

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