Animals bite millions of people every year. Surprisingly, pets are responsible for the majority of animal bites. However, stray and wild animals, such as skunks, raccoons, and bats, are to blame for thousands of the animal bites people suffer annually. An animal bite can result in a range of wounds that vary in severity. Some of the less serious injuries suffered include bruises, broken skin, and simple punctures. More severe animal bite injuries include jagged tears and missing gouges of flesh.
Animal bite repair may involve treatment ranging from simple sutures to reconstructive surgery. Animal bite repair is especially necessary for wounds that are deep, bleeding excessively, or located in an area where function is altered or scarring undesirable. In severe cases involving nerve, tissue, or bone damage, the animal bite repair may require reconstructive surgery.
When Animal Bite Reconstructive Surgery is needed
Not all animal bites are severe enough to necessitate a surgical procedure. People primarily associate plastic surgery with cosmetic procedures meant to approve aesthetic appearance. While this is often true of plastic surgery, reconstructive surgery - a particular kind of plastic surgery - can serve a greater purpose than just to enhance aesthetics. In fact, there are times when reconstructive surgery is inevitable.
Reconstructive surgery may be the only viable option for preserving the function of the injured area. Many animals target the face, an area especially sensitive to severe functional damage. The eyes, nose, and mouth are all important functional features. Reconstructive surgery may be the best treatment option in cases where any of these features are damaged.
Reconstructive surgery generally offers four types of animal bite repair:
- direct closure (stitches)
- skin grafts
- tissue expansion
- flap surgery
A qualified plastic surgeon will assess the damages and determine which procedure will offer the best results. Essentially, reconstructive surgery for animal bite repair can serve a twofold purpose: to minimize the risk of infection while also preserving function and restoring appearance.
Dog Bite Treatment
More than $100 million are spent treating dog bites every year in the United States. Dog bites are potentially dangerous, sometimes resulting in serious wounds or disfiguring scars. Worse still, dogs often target the face, an area especially susceptible to serious scarring and disfigurement. Depending on the extent of injury, dog bite treatments can range from a thorough cleaning and bandaging of the wound to reconstructive surgery.
Dog bites can result in a number of different types of injuries. Some of the common types include:
- punctures tissue loss
- fractured bones
Fortunately, not all dog bites require medical attention. Dog bite treatments that do not require medical attention, like minor cuts, generally only require a thorough cleaning and bandaging of the wound.
However, if infection is suspected, it is important to immediately contact a doctor who can provide the treatment needed. Signs of infection may include:
- red streaking
Seeking proper dog bite treatment is crucial to patient recovery. Other reasons to seek medical care include: a gaping wound, a wound that doesn't stop bleeding, open wounds on the face.
Reconstructive Surgery: A Dog Bite Treatment Option
Unfortunately, there are situations that require more extensive treatment measures like reconstructive surgery. Some dog bites result in underlying tissue, nerve, and bone damage. Oftentimes, dog bites lead to considerable scars. Reconstructive surgery offers an effective treatment option in such instances.
A qualified reconstructive surgeon can perform skin and tissue grafts to close or restore the disfigured feature as well as repair or reattach damaged blood vessels. Reconstructive surgery can also minimize the appearance of scars, although some scarring is usually inevitable. Other dog bite treatments used by plastic surgeons to reduce scarring and improve deformity include dermabrasion and pressure scar modification.
Dog Bite Prevention
Every year more than four million people in the United States are bitten by dogs. Approximately 44,000 require emergency room treatment for facial injuries sustained and at least a dozen people die. As astonishing as these statistics are, the numbers are underestimated. The reality is that countless more dog bites go unreported each year. Fortunately, there are strategies that can help reduce risks and lower these numbers. Dog bite prevention is key to reducing the number of injuries suffered by victims every year. The following are some do's of dog bite prevention:
- Spay or neuter your dog
- Train your dog
- Teach your dog appropriate behavior
- Socialize your dog
- Be a responsible dog owner
- Be on the lookout for potentially dangerous situations
- Remain calm if threatened by a dog
- Avoid eye contact with a strange dog
On the other hand avoiding the following actions or behaviors can be just as efficient in preventing dog bites:
- Hold your face near a dog
- Allow your dog to roam unleashed
- Approach a strange dog
- Startle or tease a dog
- Disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping, or nursing
- Turn away or run if you are threatened by a dog
- Leave a child alone with a dog
- Ignore warning signs of aggressive behavior
- Forget to license and vaccinate your dog