Statistics show that domestic animal bites, mostly by dogs, make up better than 90 percent of bites. Dogs bite about 4,500,000 individuals every year in the United States. More than 50 percent of Americans will be bitten by an animal during their lifetime. Animal bites involve saliva, which contains a wide range of bacteria. The jaws of an adult dog, particularly in larger breeds, have the capability to exert a bite force of more than 300 pounds. Annually, dog and cat bites result in more than $850 million in health care costs.
Emergency room visits totaling 330,000 occur in the U.S. every year for treatment of bites to the hand by animals and humans. Human bites, however, only accounted for 2 to 3 percent of the total. They are generally the result of altercations, including punches to the mouth, sports injuries or domestic abuse.
Any bite to the hand should be treated immediately, according to a Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeon’s review in the January issue, which cites the possible complications related to bites to the hand. The review also outlines the importance of antibiotics in addition to early assessment. When a bite on the hand occurs, prompt treatment within 24 hours is recommended. Otherwise, the results could range from serious infection to amputation if proper treatment is delayed.
When an individual suffers dog bite injuries, not only can the pain be excruciating, but the financial repercussions could be as well. Medical bills, physical therapy and loss of work, should the bite be severe enough or infection set in, could cause a financial hardship. A personal injury attorney with a background in handling animal bite and attack cases could help by filing a claim against the owner of the animal or other responsible party.
Source: Science Daily, “Ouch! When teeth and hands connect, bites may be beastly,” Jan. 5, 2015