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Bites from animal attacks can lead to serious infections

We have previously discussed cases that involve animals biting humans. Not too long ago, we discussed the case of the man in Lowe's who was bitten in the face by a snake. We have also discussed dog bites and cat bites. Our Wisconsin readers probably know that animal bites can be very serious. One issue that is possible with animal bites is infection. Knowing about what leads to animal bite infections might interest our readers.

All animal bites can cause bacteria to enter the wound. This is because an animal of any sort has bacteria in its mouth. When the skin is broken because of a bite, the bacteria can contaminate the area. When left in the wound, the bacteria can bloom, which can lead to an infection. While many infections are mild, they can also be life-threatening.

Some of our readers might be interested to know that around 6 percent of cat bites and around 1 percent of dog bites requires the person who was bitten to be hospitalized. An infection is often the reason.

Animal bites, especially cat bites, pose a unique threat because the teeth are so sharp. These teeth can penetrate deeply into the skin. When the puncture wound scabs over, or if the skin flaps over, the bacteria is trapped in the wound. Without drainage, an infection is likely.

Anyone who is bitten by an animal should seek medical care. This is often costly, so some people might choose to seek compensation from the animal's owner to help offset the expense of getting the care necessary after the animal bite.

Source: The Hand Center of Western Massachusetts, "Bite Wounds of the Hand" accessed Feb. 19, 2015

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