How to treat Animal Bites?



Most animal bites present no special problems of infection, with a few exceptions. The risk of infection is cut further if one permits some bleeding from the wound or even encourages bleeding with slight pressure, as in the case of puncture wounds produced by a cat.

One may then wash the wound with soap and water which may be all the first-aid procedures that are needed. If there is free bleeding, such as may occur from a dog-inflicted laceration, a clean compress can be applied and firm pressure maintained. If the skin is not penetrated by a bite, there need be no further concern. This can be the case when a dog bites through heavy clothing, or in the relatively uncommon bites from a horse; both may produce a bruising injury only, for which application of an ice hag may be useful in cutting down swelling and bleeding within the skin. Very rarely, and only after the passage of some weeks, scratches or bites from cats may produce fever and swelling of the nearby lymph glands. This is known as cat-scratch fever. Rabies following a dog bite is even rarer.

However. if the dog is a stray, is known not to have been immunized. behaves peculiarly, or runs about snapping and biting aimlessly, it should be captured and turned over to the authorities for further examination. If this is not done and a question arises as to whether or not the dog might have been rapid. it may become necessary to give the bite victim a course of special injections known as the Pasteur treatment.