Animal and human bites may cause cuts, puncture wounds, skin breaks or other injuries. Most animal bites occur from dogs and cats and should not be underestimated, whether from house pets or strays. The face, hands, arms and legs are the most common sites for animal bites. Infection is a risk that can occur from an animal bite due to bacteria in the saliva of the animal.

A dog’s bite can cause deep skin lesions, depending on the dynamics of the accident and the type of dog involved. If the dog is a house pet, it is important that they are vaccinated again rabies. Young children should always be careful and supervised around animals.

A cat bite, though painful, is generally a mild injury and requires only stitches. However, if a cat’s sharp teeth penetrate the skin deep enough, they can transmit bacteria that can cause an infection. In such instances, seeking medical attention may be necessary.

A human bite is accidental most of the time and typically involves young children. Children tend to express anger or other negative feelings through quarrels. In instances involving a bite that breaks the skin, the affected area may appear red and swollen. There are germs in some human mouths that can cause infections that are hard to treat. Antibiotic treatment given intravenously may be necessary in such instances. In more severe cases, surgery may be required.

Both animal and human bites are especially serious in instances involving:

  • Swelling, redness and pain (infected wound)
  • An individual with a weakened immune system (higher risk for the wound to become infected)
  • The eyes, face, hands or feet
  • A deep puncture wound that may have damaged bones, joints, muscles, tendons or nerves

What to do

Whether it is a dog bite or cat bite, washing the wound with water and disinfecting it is vital to preventing infections from occurring.

In cases involving a dog bite, it is advisable to go to the emergency room. The health care personnel will assess whether it is necessary to suture the wound or prescribe an antibiotic .The patient may also be subjected to tetanus and rabies treatment.

In cases involving a cat bite, the affected area may swell and pus may spill over. In such cases, swollen lymph nodes (neck, armpits, and groin) require consultation with a doctor in order to determine the most appropriate form of treatment.

In cases involving a human bite, it is important to wash the wound and disinfect it. If the wound is deep, consulting with a doctor may be necessary in order to prevent further complications, such as infections, from occurring. 

What not to do

In instances involving animal and human bites, it is highly important:

  • Not to underestimate the event because the risk of infection is high
  • Not to ignore the human bite, especially if it is bleeding
  • Not to put the wound anywhere near the mouth
  • Not to leave a child unsupervised with a large animal
  • To avoid heavy alcohol consumption that can lead to violence


Disclaimer: The information in this article does not in any way replace the intervention or signs associated with this type of emergency, but rather only provides simple tips as how to keep the situation under control while waiting for a medical rescue team to arrive.