Archive for May, 2012
Earlier in the week, we discussed how to prevent dog bites in children. For the final day of Dog Bite Prevention Week, we are going to discuss what to do if you are bitten by a dog.
If you are unlucky enough to be bitten by a dog, you will realize that it is something that happens very quickly. Even though you will be scared, upset, and in pain, you need to pay attention to what is going on around you.
If the dog is with a person, or if someone comes running up to you and takes the dog, make sure to not let them leave the scene. You need to get their name, their pets name, their veterinarians name, and their contact information.
If the dog appears to be a stray, then you need to get a good look at the dog. Coloring, size, possible breed, and whether or not they have a collar with tags. A good description is needed so you can report a stray dog to the local police and animal control.
If the dog is owned, you need to make sure the pet is up to date on their rabies vaccine. If the pet is not up to date, then the dog needs to go through a 10 day quarantine to confirm that there is no rabies present, and the dog then needs to be rabies vaccinated. If the dog appears to be a stray and runs away after the attack, then the person bitten will need to get a rabies exposure vaccine.
It is also a good idea to report the incident to the local police. This is especially important if the dog is a stray and runs away after being bitten, but it is also important in the event a person is hesitant to give up their information, or tells you that their pet is up to date on their rabies vaccine and expects you to take their word for it.
If the dog belongs to a friend or a family member, you still need to take the same precautions, however you need to use your own personal judgement in regards to alerting the authorities.
Treating a Dog Bite
The next thing that you need to do is to assess and treat your injury. If there are no puncture wounds, you may be able to treat the injury yourself. Cleanse with soap and warm water, apply an antibiotic ointment, and bandage the affected area. However, even if the injury is very minor you should still make an appointment to see your regular doctor as soon as possible. You have to remember that you were bitten by an animal, and considering the amount of bacteria in a dogs mouth you may need to go on antibiotics to get rid of any infection. If you were bitten by a dog that appears to be a stray, you need to seek emergency medical attention immediately since there is no way to prove if the pet was rabies vaccinated.
If it is a major wound with severe bleeding, wrap the affected area with a towel to help stop the bleeding and seek emergency medical attention immediately.
In the first part of our series, we discussed why dogs bite. Today, we’re going to discuss how to prevent dog bites in children. Below are some interesting statistics on dog bites in children:
According to the American Humane Association:
- 50% of dog attacks involved children under 12 years old
- 82% of dog bites treated in the emergency room involved children under 15 years old
- 70% of dog-bite fatalities occurred among children under 10 years old5
- Bite rates are dramatically higher among children who are 5 to 9 years old
- Unsupervised newborns were 370 times more likely than an adult to be killed by a dog
- 65% of bites among children occur to the head and neck
- Boys under the age of 15 years old are bitten more often than girls of the same age
Although adults do often get dog bites, it is blatantly obvious that children are the more likely victims of being bitten or attacked by dogs. Children don’t always have the best manners, and may treat dogs like they would a stuffed animal. The only difference is a stuffed animal can’t cause severe injury or bodily harm! Here are some helpful tips on how to prevent dog bites in children.
The first way to prevent bites or attacks is to never, EVER leave an infant or a young child alone with a dog. If they are left alone and the child is bitten, you have no way to know if the child provoked the attack or if it was unprovoked. It is unfortunate, but if something happens to your child when you’re not there, odds are you will never be able to trust your dog again, and your dog can sense that distrust.
Next, make sure you start educating your children at an early age. Dr. Stacey Kilcullen highly recommends that everyone check out Dr. Sophia Yin’s Website. Dr. Sophia Yin is an internationally acclaimed veterinary behaviorist, and her website has an entire section on dog bite prevention, with a variety of links geared toward preventing dog bites in children. Click Here for a direct link to this section of her website.
When your child meets an unknown dog, always make sure you have your child ask the owner if it’s OK to pet their dog. Asking permission is not only a courtesy to the pet owner, but if the pet is not friendly then a crisis is diverted.
If there is an unknown dog loose in your neighborhood, your child should not run, and especially not scream. Running and screaming will attract the dog, and make the dog more likely to chase them. Instead, stand motionless. The best way to describe this to a child is by telling them to “be still like a tree.”
Instruct your child to never approach a dog when they are sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies. If a dog is woken from a deep enough sleep, it could seriously scare the dog, causing it to lash out and who/whatever happens to be closest. Some dogs are also food aggressive, and if approach while eating may think that you are a threat to their food.
As a pet owner, there are many things that we need to be concerned or afraid of- your pet could get sick, injured, or go missing, to name a few. However, one of the most devastating things your pet could do is bite another person, yourself, or worse, a child.
Many people feel that their dog would never bite, because it probably never has. However, a dog a is still a dog, and there is always the potential that the friendliest dog could bite if they are put in the wrong type of situation. In honor of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, we are going to have a 3 part series on why dogs bite, preventing dog bites in children, and preventing dog bites in adults.
According to the American Humane Association:
- An estimated 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S. each year2,3
- Nearly 800,000 dog bites require medical care2
- Approximately 92% of fatal dog attacks involved male dogs, 94% of which were not neutered1
- Approximately 25% of fatal dog attacks involved chained dogs1
- Approximately 71% of bites occur to the extremities (arms, legs, hands, feet)2
- Approximately two-thirds of bites occurred on or near the victim’s property, and most victims knew the dog
- The insurance industry pays more than $1 billion in dog-bite claims each year3
- At least 25 different breeds of dogs have been involved in the 238 dog-bite-related fatalities in the U.S.4
- Approximately 24% of human deaths involved unrestrained dogs off of their owners’ property4
- Approximately 58% of human deaths involved unrestrained dogs on their owners’ property4
Now, after reading these statistics, you’re probably wondering what exactly causes a dog to bite?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer as there could be a multitude of reason. Every dog lives in a completely different environment with different triggers that can cause aggressive behaviors. Here is a list of the most common reasons/situations that trigger a dog to bite:
Food/Object Aggression- Many dogs are very possessive of their food, treats, and toys, and will give a warning growls or tries to bite when you go near them when they are eating or when they are playing with a toy
Pain- If a dog is painful and doesn’t want to be touched, it will lash out by growling or biting. For example, and dog with a broken nail will usually not want the nail to be touched because it is extremely painful. If they suspect that you are going to touch something that already hurts, they will try to protect themselves by growling or biting.
Invasion of Territory- Some dogs are very protective of their home, and when someone like a delivery/postal worker, or a new friend or family member enters the home, they will try to defend their territory until they know that the new person is OK.
Fear- In veterinary medicine, we see a lot of fear biters, but some dogs are fearful in other places other then the veterinary hospital setting. Some are fearful of anyone who is not the dogs family, and will growl or attempt to bite if the unknown person comes near them.
Protective of Owners or Children- Dogs love their family, sometimes to the point that they would do anything to protect them from what they perceive as a harmful situation. Something as simple as a child running and screaming with a friend can make a dog feel that their family member is in danger and cause them to go into a protective mode.
Dominance- Many dogs have a very dominant personality, and if anyone, even the owner, tries to be the “top dog” over them, they will lash out as a way to assert their dominance.
Now that you know some of the reasons that could cause a dog to bite, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for our next post in the series later in the week on how to prevent dog bites in children.
This is Pumpkin.
He was found by the Hanaway family as a stray, and they were kind enough to bring him into their home. They had seen something hanging beneath him, but only after they were able to gain his trust and bring him into their home, were they able to bring him to us. Only then were we able to identify the large lump as a huge abdominal hernia.
A hernia is an opening in the body cavity usually caused by trauma or birth defect. This one contained small intestines and abdominal fat and was 2/3 the width of a man’s hand.
After freshening the edges to allow better closure, Dr. Yacowitz used two types of suture material to close up the hernia. Doing this will create more of an inflammatory response, which causes tissue reaction and helps create a stronger seal. Usually you want to have wound closure with minimal scar formation, but in this case Dr. Yacowitz wanted the opposite.
Although Pumpkin is very shy, we suspect he will make an affectionate, and very appreciative pet for his new family.
Last summer was one of the first natural disasters we had had in a very long time, and that was Hurricane Irene.
Some areas were definitely hit worse then others, and our area was extremely lucky. However, it made many people realize that while they may have set up an evacuation plan for themselves (or, for those who hadn’t, it made them realize they needed one), they never thought about what they were going to do with their pets! Our facility was filled to the brim as we tried to accommodate as many pets as possible, since unfortunately many of the evacuation centers set up around the area would not accept pets. The thought of owners having to make a decision to leave their pets unattended during a natural disaster is something we didn’t want, and we took in as many as possible to help our clients in need. We even went so far as to have a technician spend the night to make sure that our boarders and patients were properly taken care of in the event that no one was able to return to our facility to care for them.
Now, having said that, I think we all have realized that an evacuation plan needs to include all of our furry children. In honor of National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day, we are going to discuss the ins and outs of creating an evacuation plan for your pets.
Many people (known as Dooms Day Preppers) have created different types of evacuation bags for themselves which are known as Bug Out Bags, GOOD Bag (Get Out Of Dodge Bags), or INCH Bags (I‘m Not Coming Home Bag). Some of these are simple and meant to have just emergency information and first aid kits, and some are very elaborate with supplies to last up to a week. We are only going to discuss the basics today, however there is a plethora of information for more elaborate bags. If you would like to purchase a pre-made, ready to go evacuation pack for your pets instead of making your own, we highly recommend going to Survival-Goods.com. They have two evacuations buckets, The CATastrophy Kit for Cats, and The DogGoneIt Kit for Dogs. Both kits include MRE food pouches (Meals Ready to Eat, with a 5 year shelf life), blankets, light sticks, bowls, leash/collar, water, 50′ rope, poop bags, can opener, blood stopper, 58 piece first aid kit, pet disaster information, and dog/cat toys. All of this is included in a 3 gallon bucket with lid. The only thing not included is a litter box and litter pan in the cat kit.
Here is a list of what should be in your Pets Evacuation Bag:
1- First Aid Kit. You can buy a pre-made kit, or assemble your own.
2- At least 3 days of food and water and bowls for each. Survival-Goods.com offers MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) dog and cat food that has a 5 year shelf life. This is very useful since emergencies where you would have to evacuate don’t occur often, and most commercial dog foods expire long before the 5 year mark. However, these foods should not be used if your pet has food sensitives or allergies. Collapsible pet bowls are also widely available to help save on space.
4- Up to date vaccine information and any medications that your pet is on.
5- Current photos and physical descriptions of pets, in case they should become lost.
6- Comfort items such as a toys or blankets.
7- Small garbage bags for waste.
8- A leash, harness and sturdy carrier or collapsible crate large enough to be used as a sleeping area for dogs.
9- For cats, a litter box, litter and a sturdy carrier.
Additional Information Sources: