Bug of the Month: Animal Bites

Common Household Pets:

Hamster, cat, dog, guinnea pig, ferret, gerbil, rabbit, mouse

Do these pets carry a rabies risk? No.

Can I get infected from being bitten by my pet? Yes. Mouths of pets have bacteria and can infect you. As with all bites and cuts, you want to do the following:

1. Clean well with warm soapy water.

2. Apply antibiotic ointment.

3. Cover with bandaid/dressing and change when needed.

4. Keep a close eye on the bite site for signs that active infection is forming which include:

Redness

Warmth

Tenderness

Pus

If your pet or a friend’s pet has bitten you, find out about the health of the pet:

  • How has the pet been acting?
  • Is the pet up to date on shots? This applies to dogs and cats.
  • When in doubt, contact a vet to see if the pet needs to be evaluated for infection. Often a vet can tell you over the phone if a type of pet needs to be seen or will put a person at risk from a bit.

What animal bites do I need to worry about for rabies risk?

Wild animals and unimunized cats and dogs.  So, if you don’t know the ownder of a cat or dog, those are the  cats and dogs to worry about. Also, all dog bites need to be reported to the local police by law.

Bites from the following animals need to be evaluated right away for rabies shots: bat, skunk, raccoon, fox, coyote, or large wild animal. Keep in mind that for bats, a bat in the house counts as a bat bite since bats often leave no bite marks.

Links For More Information

Dog Bite Law Site

University of Michigan Pet Bite Information


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