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Animal bites

Animal bites

Overview

Animal bites are injuries that result when flesh is torn between the teeth of an animal. First aid for a bite includes washing minor wounds, applying pressure and dressing with a clean cloth until bleeding subsides. If the animal is wild or domestic but not vaccinated there may be a concern about rabies. When possible the animal must be quarantined or autopsied to determine if it is rabid. A physician will make the decision about rabies prophylaxis.

Review Date 4/7/2018

Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Emeritus, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.