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Animal Bites

Also called: Cat bites, Dog bites

Summary

Wild animals usually avoid people. They might attack, however, if they feel threatened, are sick, or are protecting their young or territory. Attacks by pets are more common. Animal bites rarely are life-threatening, but if they become infected, you can develop serious medical problems.

To prevent animal bites and complications from bites

  • Never pet, handle, or feed unknown animals
  • Leave snakes alone
  • Watch your children closely around animals
  • Vaccinate your cats, ferrets, and dogs against rabies
  • Spay or neuter your dog to make it less aggressive
  • Get a tetanus booster if you have not had one recently
  • Wear boots and long pants when you are in areas with venomous snakes

If an animal bites you, clean the wound with soap and water as soon as possible. Get medical attention if necessary.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Start Here

  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in

Prevention and Risk Factors

  • (American Veterinary Medical Association) - PDF Also in
  • (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Treatments and Therapies

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • (Logical Images)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in

Specifics

  • (American Society for Surgery of the Hand)
  • (American Veterinary Medical Association)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (Merck & Co., Inc.) Also in
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in

Images

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • Also in

Children

  • (Nemours Foundation)
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Patient Handouts

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