Dog Bites

April 12, 2012

Dogs are hierarchical and territorial animals. Putting them together for the first time would often result to dog fights. Sometimes dog bites would result from aggressive play. A dog’s jaw can deliver from 200 to 400 pounds per square inch of tremendous pressure on the skin. A seemingly small puncture and bruising can have extensive damage on the tissues beneath the skin. The dog bite wound may also damage tendons, nerves, blood vessels and internal organs. Bite wounds on the throat and abdomen can result to the death of the dog. To avoid this occurrence dog bite wounds should be thoroughly examined at once (by a vet if possible), cleaned and treated. A dog’s mouth is an area considered to be full of bacteria. The possibility of contamination is high. Infection can set in within 12 to 24 hours.

Symptoms

Most dog bite wounds would show bruising and small puncture marks. However, once the teeth punctures and penetrates the skin the underlying tissue may be severely damaged. Locating the dog bite wound is fairly easy more especially if the owner has witnessed the fight. The real challenge however is in analyzing the extent of the damage on the underlying tissues. Bite wounds are commonly seen on the dog’s face, neck and legs. Bite wounds on the face can damage the eyes, the ears. Dog owner should watch out for excessive bleeding of bite wounds on the neck as it could mean that the major blood vessels on the esophagus were torn. In this case the dog may have breathing difficulties as the airway passage is blocked. If vital internal organs were damaged, the dog will be very weak and can even collapse. Bite wounds on the legs would be swollen and cause the dog to limp.

Prevention

Some fights can not be prevented more so if an aggressive stray dog would come upon your pet. Most likely well trained dog will be restrained from participating in dog fights. Obedience training is therefore highly recommended. Dog fights can also be avoided if the pet is not allowed to roam. Keep your dog leashed when walking in the park. A new dog should not be kept in close proximity with older pets as dog fights could result when the dogs would try to gain dominance.

Treatment

Treatment for the dog bite wound would depend on the severity of the wound and on the part of the body bitten. Bite wounds can be initially cleaned at home with hydrogen peroxide to prevent infection. Dog’s skin is elastic. The subcutaneous tissue between the skin and the muscle is an ideal nutrient rich bed for bacteria to thrive. Bite wounds must be thoroughly cleaned because if scabs form quickly over the puncture bacteria that are trapped under the skin will cause the underlying tissues to rot. Expectedly, dogs with bite wounds would be in pain. The dog may have to be muzzled as in most cases dogs in pain are aggressive and can not recognize the owner.

Bite wounds that seem to be very minor can be life threatening. Therefore all bite wounds need to be examined by the vet. Punctures may need to be surgically enlarged to examine the extent of damage. The vet would have to administer anesthesia and the dog may be sedated. The vet will remove the hair around the wound, remove dead tissue and thoroughly clean the wound. This is to avoid infection. If the tissue is extensively damaged a drain may be placed by the vet to aid the healing process. Antibiotics like amoxicillin, cephalexin will be prescribed to control the spread of infection.

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