Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Symptoms Evaluation Treatment rabies tetanus Home Care pain in adults pain in children warning signs Complications Underlying Cause Types

Animal Bites Home Care

Initial home care for animal bites includes:

  • Apply direct pressure to control bleeding:
    • Use a gauze or clean cloth directly on the bite.
    • Maintain constant pressure for at least 10 minutes.
    • Do not interrupt the pressure, in order to look at the bite.
  • Clean the bite:
    • Use mild soap and water.
    • Running water can help remove dirt.
    • Gently dab the bite with hydrogen peroxide to remove clotted blood.
    • Do not scrub the bite.
    • Remove dirt or foreign material from the bite.
  • Notify animal control services.

Continuing home care for animal bites may include:

Animal Bites Pain in Adults

Medications commonly used to control pain and inflammation in adults with an animal bite include:

  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Adult dosing is 2 regular strength (325 mg) every 4 hours or 2 extra-strength (500 mg) every 6 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day.
  • Avoid this drug if you have alcoholism, liver disease or an allergy to the drug. See the package instructions.
  • Common brand names include Tylenol, Panadol, and many others.





NSAID Precautions

Animal Bites Pain in Children

Common medications used at home for pain and fever in children with an animal bite include:

Aspirin and most of the other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are not used in children except under a doctor's care.

  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Dosing is 10-15 mg per kilogram (5-7 mg per pound) of body weight every 4-6 hours, up to the adult dose.
  • Do not exceed the maximum daily dose.
  • Acetaminophen products come in various strengths. Always follow the package instructions.
  • Avoid this drug in children with liver disease or an allergy to acetaminophen.
  • Common acetaminophen products include Tylenol, Panadol and many others.



Animal Bites Warning Signs

Notify your doctor for an animal bite and any of the following:

Continue to Animal Bites Complications

Last Updated: Nov 29, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Animal Bites References
  1. Brook I. Management of human and animal bite wounds: an overview. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2005 May;18(4):197-203. [15920371]
  2. Brook I. Microbiology and management of human and animal bite wound infections. Prim Care. 2003 Mar;30(1):25-39, v. [12825249]
  3. Talan DA, Citron DM, Abrahamian FM, Moran GJ, Goldstein EJ. Bacteriologic analysis of infected dog and cat bites. Emergency Medicine Animal Bite Infection Study Group. N Engl J Med. 1999 Jan 14;340(2):85-92. [9887159]
  4. Wolff KD. Management of animal bite injuries of the face: experience with 94 patients. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 1998 Jul;56(7):838-43. [9663574]
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