A type of injury inflicted by the mouth parts of an animal, which can range from the puncture wounds of bloodsucking insects to the massive injuries, caused by crocodile or shark attacks. The teeth of carnivores can inflict widespread mechanical injury. Extreme injuries and lacerations to major blood vessels can lead to heavy blood loss and psychological shock. Serious infection can occur as a result of bacteria in the animals mouth being transferred in the bite, and tetanus is a particular danger. In countries were rabies is present, any mammal may potentially harbour the rabies virus and transmit it via bite.
Medical advice should always be sought for all but minor injuries and in all cases if there is a risk of rabies. The treatment usually includes examination and cleaning of the wound. The wound is usually left open and dressed, rather than stitched, as closing it can encourage the multiplication of bacteria. Anti biotic treatment and anti tetanus injection may also be given. If there is any possibility that the animal may be infected with rabies, antirabies vaccine is administered; people who haven’t previously been immunised against rabies are also given immunoglobulin.
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This article was written by Dr Stephen Ferguson ND PhD Copyright 2012 All rights reserved. Illegal copying of this material may be prosecuted.