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Treatment of bites and scratches of dogs, cats and other mammalsbackground:Injuries caused by the bite of mammalian animals (e.g - dogs, cats, jackals, monkeys, rats, mice) can lead to several problems:* The wound itself may be deep, infected, cause extensive bleeding or need to be sutured.* There are many bacteria in the animal's saliva, which can multiply within the wound and lead to a secondary infection.* The animal might be infected with Rabies and spread the disease by biting* The wound might be contaminated with Tetanus bacteria.The last two diseases have vaccines, which might be needed promptly after being bitten.The bite severity may be of varying degrees, ranging from serious injuries that require surgery and intravenous treatment at the hospital, to minor scratches that are almost unnoticeable.Treatment of bites should be tailored to the severity of the injury, while addressing the three potential complications above.In any case of a bite by a domestic animal, the biting animal and it's owner must be identified, in order to find out weather the dog/cat/other pet has been inoculated, and to obtain owner contact information for further follow-up.How to treat the wound?1. Large, deep injury accompanied by massive bleeding:Treatment: Order an ambulance!Until the ambulance arrives, stop the bleeding using any means of bandaging available. If necessary - perform an arterial blockage.Infection prevention: will be performed at the hospital.Vaccinations needed: will be performed at the hospital.The staff will contact the district health office for consultation and continued treatment.2. Isolated and deep wounds (teeth marks), with or without significant bleeding:Such wounds/cuts might require treatment with adhesion / stitching, by a physician. Treatment should be reached as soon as possible.In some cases, the injury will be accompanied by significant bleeding.Treatment: If there is bleeding, it should be stopped by pressing the wound with a bandage. After the bleeding is under control, the wound must be washed thoroughly with saline or even tap water, for at least 5 minutes.The injured person should be evacuated for further treatment at a medical institution (hospital, medical center)Prevention of Infections: Will be carried out in a hospital / medical center.Vaccinations needed: will be performed at the hospital / medical center.The staff will contact the district health office for consultation and continued treatment.3. Superficial wounds and scratches:Explain: These are wounds that did not go beyond the upper layer of the skin, or minor scratches.Treatment: If there is bleeding, it should be stopped by applying pressure to the wound, by any means.After stopping the bleeding, the wound must be well disinfected by:A. Rinse thoroughly with soap and waterB. Disinfection in the cavity.C. Applying iodine solution on the wound.Infection prevention: It is forbidden to cover the wound !!!!It should be left open in the free air to dry.Vaccinations needed:A. Contact the Health Bureau for a rabies vaccine / Tetanus shot.i) In case of a bite by a street pet / wild animal / rodent:Please contact the district health office during work hours. If the Health Bureau is closed, contact the emergency room, or a nearby medical center.ii) In case of a bite by a domestic pet whose owners are recognized:You can contact the Health Bureau on the next working day.You must go to the Health Bureau with the dog's and owner details, in order to take put the dog in quarantine (if needed). If the dog is vaccinated and survives by the end of the quarantine period, there may be no need for a vaccine.The list of Health Bureau offices, their addresses and telephone numbers can be found at:B. If you have not received tetanus vaccination during the past 5 years, you should contact a medical center and receive such a vaccine within 24 hours.
Our Tel Aviv doctor can help you if you got bitten, including a tetanus vaccine. Call us.