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PLACE

Dr. Ken Tudor
Holistic Veterinarian

Dog bite wounds can be very serious even when they look superficial

Dog Bite Wounds: What You See Is Not What You Get

July 5, 2016

I was just released from the hospital Friday after treatment for bite wound from a new patient. After 4 days hospitalization, one emergency surgery and twice daily self-administered wound care I can confirm what I have always said about dog bite wounds- they do serious damage. Whether to a human or another dog, the tissue damage from dog bite wounds can be extensive, painful and potentially life threatening even though, superficially it looks minimal.

My Practice Experience 

After 33 years in practice the conversation never changes when I am presented with a dog bite wound.

Client: “Doc, this other dog got him here and it looks like just a couple of puncture wounds”

Me: “Yes, but you can’t see the damage to the tissue underneath that will rot due to infection, cause intense pain and involve an area much bigger than the puncture wounds. The incision is going to be 3 times what you think is necessary.”

Sure enough after surgery, the dog looks like Frankenstein’s monster and the owner is sure I over-reacted.

My Bite Experience 

Me: “Doc it is just 2 puncture wounds. I have been bit before and antibiotics did the trick. Can you just kill the pain?”

Doc: “Dog bite wounds are serious and can cause massive tissue damage, gangrene and require amputation. This needs immediate, serious care.”

I will spare you the comedy of my treatment, but they were right. Kaiser has a 1-10 point scale for pain.

I was a 12-13 from admissions until the day before discharge. Thank goodness for Dilaudid (a morphine derivative) and Vicodin, for the pain was unbearable and I have family genetics for pain tolerance. I seldom know when I injury myself doing projects around the house.

The tissue damage: My 2 puncture wounds are a gaping 2 ½ inch ½ inch deep semi-circle at the base of my thumb exposing my hand muscles. When they lanced the abscess under the puncture wounds, the dead tissue left the trench. Fortunately, there was no nerve or muscle damage so my hand will be normal again.

The lesson for us all 

Dog bite wounds are serious no matter who receives them. Don’t ignore them and just hope the Neosporin does the trick.

Author
Ken Tudor DVM
Dr. Ken Tudor, Holistic Veterinarian

Dr. Ken Tudor is a recognized expert and leader in the field of pet nutrition and fitness. He has developed a pet weight management program and served on the American Animal Hospital Association task force to develop their Weight Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. He is also a frequent guest on the Pet World Insider radio show and a popular guest on the televised Pet Ex Talks-Pet Experts Empowering Pet Parents show.

Dog Bite Wounds: What You See Is Not What You Get

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