Animal Bites Treatment

Can this condition be treated? What Animal Bites treatment options are available? Learn more below about the current treatments available to patients.


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  • Screening
  • Medications
  • Prevention
  • Treatment
  • Alternative Treatment
  • Care Guide
  • Questions for Your Doctor
  • When to Contact a Doctor
  • Find a Doctor
  • Resource Guide

How to Treat Animal Bites

Treatment aims to promote healing, decrease the risk of infection, and prevent complications. If your dog bit you and it has had all its vaccinations, you may be able to treat a minor wound yourself. However, call your provider for medical advice. Receiving any necessary medical care within the first 24 hours decreases the chance of infection.

Seek medical care in these situations:

  • Bite from any wild animal (Bites from rabbits and rodents (squirrels, mice, rats) are quite unlikely to cause rabies.)
  • Cat or human bites (These are particularly prone to developing rapid and serious infection.)
  • Deep or large wound
  • Infection
  • Five or more years since your last tetanus shot

Regardless of the severity of the bite, see a doctor if you have a chronic medical condition, such as:


  • Wash the wound with soap and water for at least five minutes.
  • Apply pressure with a clean towel to stop the bleeding.
  • If bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes, seek immediate medical care.
  • Place a sterile bandage on the open area.
  • Elevate the wound, keeping the area above the level of your heart to decrease swelling.
  • Keep the bandage clean and dry.
  • Check the wound regularly for signs of infection.

Medical Care

A healthcare provider can clean the wound, washing the tissue with large amounts of fluid. Debris and dead tissue can be removed. The wound may or may not be closed with stitches. It often is kept open to decrease the risk of infection. After 24 hours, the doctor may use adhesive strips to bring the edges of the wound closer together. Antibiotics may be ordered and a tetanus shot may be given.

If the identity of the biting animal is unknown and it cannot be monitored for rabies, you may need to receive treatment to prevent this life-threatening disease. For hand wounds, a splint may be ordered to keep the hand from moving. Expect to follow up with the doctor in one or two days.

If you have recieved an animal bite, follow your doctor's instructions.


Learn what Animal Bites is
What It Is
Learn the basics of this condition. Find out what you're dealing with.
Animal Bites Causes
What causes Animal Bites? Learn what the medical community has uncovered.
Animal Bites Risk Factors
Risk Factors
Are you at risk of getting Animal Bites? Inside you'll find known risk factors for the condition.
Animal Bites Diagnosis
How will your doctor diagnose you with this condition? Learn about the tests, process, and more.
Animal Bites Symptoms
What are the Animal Bites symptoms? Are you showing any? Learn more today.
Animal Bites Complications
Can this condition lead to other health problems? Learn more about the known complications.

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Screening for Animal Bites
Learn more about the specific tests or exams given by your doctor to screen for Animal Bites.
Animal Bites Medications
What medications offer relief or help with this condition? Are there side effects? Risks? Learn more.
Animal Bites Prevention
How can you prevent Animal Bites? Read what the medical community suggests for prevention methods.
Animal Bites Treatment
Can this condition be treated? What Animal Bites treatment options are available?
Animal Bites Care
Learn more about the day to day care of this condition. Changes to your activity, diet, exercise, and more.
Animal Bites Doctors
Find a Doctor
Do you need to contact a doctor about Animal Bites? Select a location to find a specialist in your area.

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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright ©2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved. Source: EBSCO