February 19, 2010

How to Treat Dog Bites

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Dog bites can be a very frightening and painful experience. They can also be quite deadly, as the open wounds are at risk of infection by the rabies virus, which is present in the animal’s saliva. Luckily most cases of dog bites involve healthy pets who have been vaccinated against rabies. However, even these dog bites can be prone to bacterial or viral infections.

The first thing to do after a dog bite is to immediately clean the wound with clean water and some soap. If bleeding continues, use a clean cloth, such as a towel, to apply direct pressure on the wound. This should help with the bleeding and can be held in place with a bandage. If the bite wounds are on the legs or arms, try keeping the injured limb at a higher level than your heart. This can help to reduce swelling and inflammation around the wound. If the injuries are very minor, you can apply aloe vera gel to benefit from its natural antiseptic properties. Tea tree oil can also be used to soak the bandage, providing protection against potential infections. Over-the-counter antiseptic creams and powders are also very effective on minor wounds. In an emergency, you can also use turmeric powder from your kitchen, since it has antiseptic qualities. However, if the wounds are deep or the bleeding does not stop, you should visit a doctor for bandaging and medication. This visit is also important in preventing rabies.

Cure for Rabies

Rabies is uncommon in pet dogs in the US. However, it is better to check the vaccination history of the pet involved. Even apparently healthy animals are usually kept isolated for ten days to watch for any symptoms of rabies to appear. If the animal is a stray or the owner is unknown, you should probably get tested for rabies. This involves testing you blood and tissue for rabies. If the virus is detected, treatment consists of a series of six rabies shots, administered over a period of a month. Rabies is very serious in human beings because any symptoms show up very late, just before the person may be about to die from the infection.

You should also report all stray dogs and lost pets to the local animal control organization, especially if the animal is violent. They can test the animal for rabies and prevent any attacks on people. There is no real prevention against being bitten by a dog, but getting timely tetanus shots can help to reduce serious infections.