Pediatrics - Bite Injuries, Animal Bites
IntroductionAnimal bite injuries can cause skin wounds and structural damage to the hand. Infection and, less commonly, rabies are always a main concern. Pets are the most common source of bite injures, although they may result from wild animals as well. Animal bite injuries need prompt careful cleaning. Hand surgery may be necessary to drain infections or repair injured bones, blood vessels, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves.
Dogs have rounded teeth and strong jaws that can cause crushing injuries. Animal bites can break the skin and cause a puncture wound. Cats have sharp pointed teeth and cause more puncture wounds than dogs.
Infection is a major concern for all bite injuries. Most infections from animal bites are mixed infections, meaning that a combination of sources including bacteria, virus, fungal, and other germs cause them. Rabies is a concern, because without timely treatment, rabies is fatal. Most pets in the United States are vaccinated against rabies. The majority of rabies cases occur from wild animals such as skunks, bats, or raccoons.
Your child will most likely participate in therapy following non-surgical or surgical treatment of his or her injury. A therapist will teach your child exercises to help gain range of motion, flexibility, coordination, and strength. Therapy may help to reduce swelling, pain, and stiffness. The extent of rehabilitation that your child receives depends on the type of injury and treatment that he or she had. The goal of therapy is to maximize your child's hand function.