Most of us are aware of what to do when you get a cut or if you faint. But not many know about the first-aid measures to follow if bitten by a dog. Yes, you heard it right! Whether it is a pet dog or street dog, it is important to know about the first-aid treatment of a dog bite. There are numerous cases of rabies, a condition caused due to an animal bite (dogs being most common), all around the world.
According to a study published in the journal PLoS One, India contributes to more than 36% of global deaths caused due to rabies every year. Moreover, the majority of the cases of a dog bite is from free-roaming dogs. But this doesn’t mean that pet dogs do not bite. So here’s a quick read on dog bite treatment.
Dog Bite First-Aid:7 steps to treating a dog bite
If a dog bites you, take these steps right away:
- Press on the wound gently to cause some bleeding to help flush out as much bacteria as possible.
- Wash the wound with mild soap and water.
- Slow the bleeding with a clean cloth.
- Apply over-the counter antibiotic cream if you have it.
- Wrap the wound in a sterile bandage. Keep the wound bandaged and see your doctor.
- Change the bandage several times a day once your doctor has examined the wound.
- Watch for signs of infection, including redness, swelling, increased pain and fever.
How a Dog bite Is Treated?
In most cases, your doctor might recommend an injection or a vaccine for a dog bite. For minor scratches, vaccination is the most effective mode of dog bite treatment but if the bite is deep, then you might have to get an injection, which is an anti-rabies immunoglobulin.
If the bite is due to a pet dog, you might have to take three injections as there are high chances that the dog might be vaccinated. The first injection should be taken on the day of a dog bite, the second one after three days and the third after seven days of the dog bite.
If the dog bite is due to a stray dog, then you may have to take at least five to seven injections with the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh dose of the injections after an interval of a week each between two consequent doses, or as advised by your doctor. In mild cases or scratches, three doses of injection might be advised.
In most cases, doctors avoid stitching the wound unless it is on the face or if the wound has affected any vital organ.
Remember that your doctor’s decision will be final when it comes to treatment of dog bite as it will be based on your condition and the severity of the bog bite. It is wise to avoid applying home remedies or any lotion for the wounds to heal without consulting your doctor.
What Will Happen If You Do Not Get Treated after Dog bite?
There are times when people tend to ignore dog scratch or fail to consult a doctor for a dog bite. But it is important to report the dog bite to your doctor and get the proper treatment as not treating it on time can even lead to death. Here is a list of diseases you can get from a dog bite:
Rabies: It is one of the most common and serious diseases caused due to dog bites. It is a virus that affects the brain and can even cause death after the symptoms start to appear. It spreads through the saliva of a dog infected with rabies or through dog bite. The disease can be prevented by vaccinating the dogs. This is the reason why people who are bitten by a dog should report it to the local government agency for vaccination of dogs or if a dog starts to act strangely.
Capnocytophaga: It is a condition caused by the bacteria Capnocytophaga which spreads through close contact of cats and dogs including a scratch or a bite. This bacteria do not make the animals sick but can affect people with low immunity.
Pasteurella: It mostly causes painful infection at the site of the dog bite. It is a type of bacteria which can cause serious complications such as difficulty in moving and swelling in joints in people with low immunity.
Tetanus: If the wound is deep, then it can also increase the risk of tetanus. It is a condition that is caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani, which produces a toxin that can lead to paralysis.
Anyone can suffer a dog bite but knowing about the first-aid and its treatment can lower your risk of serious health complications. If you encounter a dog, it is best to stand still and not run. Do not panic or make loud noises. Do not avoid or ignore even minor scratches. Avoid disturbing a dog that is sleeping or eating and never let a child play with a dog unsupervised as it can increase the risk of being bitten by a dog. Stay safe, stay Fit!