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    Animal Bites Treatment

    Call 911 if: 

    • The person has been seriously wounded.
    • Bleeding can't be stopped after 10 minutes of firm and steady pressure.
    • Bleeding is severe.
    • Blood spurts from the wound.

    • The person has been seriously wounded.
    • Bleeding can't be stopped after 10 minutes of firm and steady pressure.
    • Bleeding is severe.
    • Blood spurts from the wound.

    1. Stop Bleeding

    • Apply direct pressure until bleeding stops.

    2. Clean and Protect

    For a wound or superficial scratch from an animal bite:

    • Gently clean with soap and warm water. Rinse for several minutes after cleaning.
    • Apply antibiotic cream to reduce risk of infection, and cover with a sterile bandage.

    3. Get Help

    • Get medical help immediately for any animal bite that is more than a superficial scratch or if the animal was a wild animal or stray, regardless of the severity of the injury.
    • If the animal's owner is available, find out if the animal's rabies shots are up-to-date. Give this information to your health care provider.
    • If the animal was a stray or wild animal, call the local health department or animal control immediately.

    4. Follow Up

    • The health care provider will make sure the wound is thoroughly clean and may prescribe antibiotics.
    • The health care provider may numb the wound and look for any deeper damage.
    • If there is any risk of rabies infection, the health care provider will recommend anti-rabies treatment.
    • The person may require stitches, depending on how big the wound is and where it is located.
    • The person may also require a tetanus shot or booster.
    • The health care provider may recommend ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on November 25, 2015

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