Animal Bites Treatment Questions and Answers
An animal bite can be a frightening and a painful experience, but help is available. Houston Medical ER helps treat animal bites. Houston Medical ER is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we are equipped to provide both emergency and non-emergency care! Call us today for more information. We have convenient locations to serve you in Houston TX, and Spring TX.
What Are the Symptoms of an Animal Bite?
Besides being a frightening experience, an animal bite can happen to anyone, anywhere, and it can also be quite painful. Most commonly, animal bites come from family pets, but with a number of critters out there, bites can also come from rodents around the neighborhood, like raccoons, bats, squirrels or rats. Animal bites from a pet are more likely to occur when the animal is provoked or teased, if food is removed while the animal is eating, or when the animal perceives a threat to itself to its offspring or to its owner. Sometimes animal attacks are unprovoked, and occasionally, a raccoon or squirrel may attack for no obvious reason, and in many cases the animal is seriously ill and possibly infected with rabies.
Though immediate medical attention may not always be possible, an animal bite that breaks the skin should be checked by a doctor as soon as possible as infection can result from the animal’s saliva or from debris in the wound. Some symptoms that might indicate an infection include:
- Redness, swelling, or itching around the wound site
- Sensation loss around bite area
- Swelling of lymph nodes
- Night sweating
- Difficulty breathing
- Warm to the touch
- Streaks of red, spreading away from the wound
- Leaking of pus from the wound
- Muscle weakness and fatigue
It is advisable to seek medical attention if you, or someone you are with has been bitten, and showing any of the above symptoms for 24 hours or more.
What are the different types of animal bites?
All animals are capable of biting, whether they are family pets like cats and dogs, or from rodents in the neighborhood. Wild animals are also capable of making their way into populated areas, and can pose a serious risk to people and pets while hiking or camping. Bites from bats are uncommon, but do occur. If a bat is found in a room where you or a family member has been sleeping, seeking medical attention is advised, even if bite marks are not visible.
How Are Animal Bites Diagnosed and Treated?
Animal bites can cause bacterial infections from the animal’s mouth or saliva, or from the environment. Animal bites are often referred to as poly-microbial, meaning several species of bacteria are likely involved in the infection. A serious condition called Tetanus can develop from a bacterial infection from an animal bite.
If you require a visit to your doctor for a bite, they will ask you questions about the details of the experience, like:
- What kind of animal it was that bit you?
- What prompted the animal to bite you?
- If your own pet, has it had a rabies vaccination?
- When did you last receive a tetanus shot?
Your doctor may order x-rays and blood tests to determine if the infection has spread, especially if the bite was on a hand or finger. The bite area will be properly cleaned and the wound assessed, which may help prevent infection. If an infection does develop, your doctor may prescribe oral or intervenes antibiotics, or even a tetanus shot, depending the severity of the infection, and your vaccination status.
How Do I Prevent Animal Bites?
To help reduce your chances of being bitten, or scratched by an animal:
- Always ask owners if it’s okay to pet or approach their dog
- Keep clear of stray, wild or unknown animals, birds or bats
- Never leave a young child unattended with an animal
- Avoid running around dogs, as they enjoy chasing
- Dogs are very protective and territorial, never reach through a fence or physically touch a dog owner, unless the dog is very familiar with you.
At Houston Medical ER, our team of highly trained medical professionals are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, if you require urgent medical care, otherwise. Call our office or visit our website to set an appointment or for directions to both of our locations. We serve patients from Houston TX, Spring TX, North Houston TX, The Woodlands TX, Humble TX, Heights TX, Downtown Houston TX, Northwest Houston TX, Northeast Houston TX, Conroe TX, Willis TX, Tomball TX, Cypress TX, and Memorial City TX.
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