Self-inflicted wounds may contain rabies

Bite woundsIndications Bite wounds are manifested as painful mechanical damage to the skin and the underlying tissue. Children are particularly at risk. In addition to injury, the transmission of infectious diseases is a major concern. The majority of bite wounds are caused by dogs. Cats, rodents, humans and numerous other mammals can also be responsible. Bite wounds should be treated by a doctor. The wound is cleaned, cared for and disinfected and antibiotics and vaccines are administered.

synonymous: bite injuries, animal bites, dog bite injuries, cat bite injuries


Bite wounds manifest themselves in painful mechanical damage to the skin and the underlying tissue, for example the tendons, muscles and nerves. They are common on the arms and hands and can be potentially dangerous and fatal. A major concern with a bite wound is the transmission of infectious diseases. The pathogens involved include Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Pasteurella multocida, Bartonella henselae, Streptobacillus moniliformis, the rabies virus (rabies), hepatitis viruses, Treponema pallidum, Clostridium tetani and many more. Bite wounds are common. It is estimated that one in two people will be bitten once in their lifetime.


The vast majority of bite wounds are caused by dogs and the dog is often already known to the patient. In addition, depending on the region, the injuries can also be caused by cats, rats, mice, squirrels, foxes, bats, raccoons, monkeys, horses, pigs and humans. Children are particularly at risk. One of the reasons why animals bite is because they feel threatened and want to defend their territory.


The diagnosis is made under medical treatment. In the patient survey, it must be found out, among other things, which animal has bitten and whether it may have been a sick animal. Individual risk factors such as diabetes mellitus and allergies are also recorded.


Bite wounds inflicted by humans or animals should always be treated medically due to the risk of infection. The bleeding is stopped, the wound is properly cleaned, for example with Ringer's solution, and debridement and disinfection are carried out. Due to the risk of infection, not all wounds are closed immediately. Depending on the extent and location, plastic surgery may be required. The following drugs, among others, are used:

Prevention of dog bites
  • When buying a dog, pay attention to the breed. Some dog breeds, such as the Pit Bull Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, and Rottweiler, are considered to be particularly aggressive. Buy dogs as young as possible and not as adults.
  • Keep dogs on a leash.
  • Do not run away from aggressive dogs, but withdraw slowly and never look the dog directly in the eye. Distract the dog with a throwable object. In acute danger, tie a jacket or sweater around your hand, in which the dog can bite itself. Escape at high altitudes, for example over roofs and cars. Go to a closed room (e.g. a car).
  • Do not stretch your hands out to greet dogs.
see also

Insect bites, wound care, tick bites, cat scratch disease, rabies

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Conflicts of Interest: None / Independent. The author has no relationships with the manufacturers and is not involved in the sale of the products mentioned.

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