The hand is the most common place for animal bites. Animal bites can result in skin lacerations, puncture wounds, crushed bones, torn ligaments, tendons, and muscles. They can injure or damage blood vessels and nerves. Compounding the physical injuries, several types of infections, including rabies, are transmittable from the animal’s mouth into the hand.
Dogs have rounded teeth and strong jaws that can cause crushing injuries. Animal bites can break the skin and cause a puncture wound. Cats have sharp pointed teeth and cause more puncture wounds than dogs.
Infection is a major concern for all bite injuries. Most infections from animal bites are mixed infections, meaning that a combination of sources including bacteria, virus, fungal, and other germs cause them. Rabies is a concern, because without timely treatment rabies is fatal. Most pets in the United States are vaccinated against rabies. The majority of rabies cases occur from wild animals such as skunks, bats, or raccoons.
Pets are a common cause of animal bites. Dog bites occur most frequently, followed by cat bites. Stray animals and wild animals also cause bite injuries. Skunks, raccoons, foxes, bats, rodents, reptiles, and farm animals may bite people if they are sick, provoked, or feel threatened.
If an animal bites you or your child, you should try to keep the animal in view and contact your local animal control experts to capture it. They may quarantine the animal and check it for rabies. They can also verify the rabies vaccination status of stray pets.