Animal Bites-general information

There are an estimated 3 to 6 million animal bites in the US annually. The reason for such a huge variance in estimation of this number is because many of the bites go unreported as they are inflicted by animals within the family or of a close friend. 80 to 90 percent of animal bites are inflicted upon people by dogs with 1% of these bites resulting in hospitalizations. Kids in the age range of 5 to 10 are the most susceptible to being bit by animals. 20 to 35 people die each year from injuries sustained in dog attacks.

Hands are the most commonly bitten body part. Hand bites are more prone to infection than bites to bodily areas that receive a greater amount of circulation and that lie in closer proximity to lymph nodes (which harbour many defensive immune system cells). Lacerations from animal bites are less prone to infection than puncture wounds, even though the latter can be much smaller. Cats are more likely to inflict puncture wounds than dogs. Cat bites can develop infection much more readily than a dog bite even though they generally cover less surface area.

Complications of an animal bite can include the following, which are infections that can spread to organs or tissue beyond those that the initial bite infected:

  • Abscesses
  • Cellulitis
  • Endocarditis
  • Meningitis
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Septic arthritis
  • Tenosynovitis

If you or loved are bit by an animal, make sure you document and save paperwork in the following areas:

  • Time and date the animal bite occurred
  • The location that the incident occurred
  • The type of animal (photographic evidence even better), the animal’s behavior, appearance, whether or not the animal had proof of health (rabies tag)
  • Circumstances of the bite (provoked, random, etc)
  • Locations on the body of bite(s)
  • Prehospital treatment (first aid, care administered before professional help sought)
  • Hospital/physician treatment administered
  • Bills associated with bite treatment, police report if on was filed
  • Names of people who witnessed incident

The following lists types of bacteria and viruses that one can be infected with from animal bite wounds. The list include dog, cat, and rodent infection agents as these are the most common animals that bite incidents happen with.
Dog bite bacterial infection agents:

  • Bacteroides
  • Capnocytophaga canimorsus or DF-2
  • Corynebacterium
  • Eikenella
  • Enterobacter
  • Fusobacteria
  • Haemophilus
  • Klebsiella
  • moraxella
  • Neisseria
  • Pasteurella
  • Prevotella
  • Proteus
  • Porphyromonas
  • Rabies virus
  • Staphylococcus
  • Streptococcus

Cat bite infection agents:

  • Actinomyces
  • Bacteroides
  • Clostridia
  • Fusobacteria
  • Pasteurella
  • Peptostreptococcus
  • Propionibacteria
  • Rabies virus
  • Streptococcus
  • Toxoplasma gondii
  • Wolinella

Rodent bite infection agents

  • Rabies virus
  • Spirillum
  • Steptobacillus

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of an animal attack, call the Sweeney Law Firm now at (866) 793-6339 or submit the case form below. The initial consultation is free, and if we agree to accept your case, we will handle your case on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a settlement or recovery of funds. There is no reason to hesitate. Contact us today for a free initial evaluation of your case.