Lifestyle & Health - Treating a dog bite

January 10, 2017
leg wound

D.H. is an elderly man of 76 who was recently bitten by his neighbour's dog.

He remains quite incensed as the neighbour has denied ownership of the dog, which she claims is a stray animal.

D.H. had his pants leg torn and also had to get an anti-tetanus shot and a dressing to his leg at the doctor's, so the incident was quite costly!

He doesn't even understand why the dog bit him, as it has been around for quite a while.

Well, as a rule, to prevent dog bites:

- Stay away from dogs you don't know.

- Don't interfere with a dog which is either eating or feeding puppies.

- If a dog seems aggressive, don't run or scream, and don't make eye contact. Just move away slowly.

- Do not approach a dog suddenly

- Do not leave young children unsupervised with dogs.

When bitten by a dog:

- Wash the bite with soap and water as soon as possible to clean it up.

- Apply antibiotic ointment if this is available.

- Cover the bite with a clean bandage.

- Visit the doctor, who will examine the wound to ensure no stitches are needed and will administer anti-tetanus injection if one is needed.

Often, it is preferred not to suture dog bites as they are usually infected, but where muscles are torn, closure is necessary and the doctor will have to give medication to prevent infection.

The wound must always be thoroughly cleaned.

Note that the risk of a dog bite is greater where there are more dogs; also men get bitten more often than women. Children are bitten more often than any other age group.

D.H., the other issues such as liability is another matter altogether. The thing is, with a good heart, a person might feed a stray dog. Does the dog then belong to that person?

Ask a lawyer! Best wishes to you!

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