Animal Bites: Do You Need Medical Care?

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If you’ve just suffered a dog, cat, or even a monkey bite, the first thing you’ll want to do is get to a safe place, away from whatever bit you. Pay attention to the type/breed of animal and how it behaves; animal behavior is one of several factors that will help you decide whether to seek assistance from a doctor or other medical professional, like those at your local FastMed Urgent Care clinic.

Animal bites

Here are some tips about when to seek medical attention for an animal bite, based on information from the Mayo Clinic and MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Seek Medical Attention If:

The bite punctures or tears the skin.

Deep and/or dirty wounds put you at risk for infection. The more difficult it is to clean (using soap, water, antibiotic ointment, and a clean bandage), the more seriously you should consider seeing a medical professional.

You aren’t current on your tetanus shots.

If your last shot was over five years ago, you may need a shot from a medical provider.

Your wound is infected.

Signs of infection include redness, swelling, pus drainage, and pain. If you have a medical condition that makes you more prone to infection, you’ll need to be extra cautious.

The animal that bit you could have rabies.

The potential for rabies is higher if:

  • The animal is acting strangely.
  • The animal was wild and/or undomesticated.
  • The animal is a bat, raccoon, skunk, or fox. Cats, dogs, rabbits, and rodents are less likely to have rabies.

Even waking up to see a bat in your room can be enough of a reason to go and seek medical help. Bat bites are sometimes difficult to see.

The bite is on your hands, fingers, face, or neck.

You may need a medical provider to prescribe antibiotics or provide stiches in these and other cases. 

If you think you may need medical attention for an animal bite, come to your local FastMed Urgent Care clinic today. We’ll assess your injury and give you the treatment you need.

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