The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-17-2009, 08:54 PM
Risha Risha is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Dog bite - should I go to the doctor?

(Somehow this turned out really long - sorry.)

I went to the dog park this evening, as I do a few times a week. This is a large (maybe one acre?) fenced in area. It's very popular, so there's usually anywhere between two to twelve other dogs there, depending on the day and time I show up. On my part, I have three dogs - Sebastian (a large beagle mix), Bentley (a long haired miniature Dachshund), and the newest, Zach (a possible Basset Hound/Pit Bull mix?). Zach's about 40 pounds, and is very popular with the humans at the park because he is cute, funny looking, has the best puppy dog eyes in three counties, and follows everyone around in order to better adore them. He does have a temper of sorts, though - he's perfectly fine until he feels overwhelmed by another dog (which takes a lot of prolonged, direct aggression towards him), at which time he'll give a piercing squeak/growl/bark and exactly one vicious snarl/snap, which has never pierced skin but has frightened the hell out of every dog that has ever tried to push him around.

Tonight, we'd been at the park for more than an hour, and there were three other dogs there - two large ones who had been there for almost the whole time, and a medium sized one who had just arrived a few minutes before. Everyone was playing peacefully. I was a fair way from the gate when the entire pack rushed for it. A couple was coming in with a large dog and a very large dog - a mastiff, maybe? As I headed that way, VLD, still on the far side of the inside gate, started barking. I picked up my pace, because I could see Zach was right up front of the group and the barking didn't sound friendly, though I wasn't actually expecting a problem. But I was still a distance away when the couple opened the gate and there was suddenly a snarling mass of dog fight underway. There were a few dogs involved at first, but as I was running, it resolved into Zach throwing VLD up against the fence and grabbing its throat. The couple grabbed at their dog, I grabbed Zach, and I wrestled him away with the help of some yelling and a smack on the butt.

The woman was bleeding fairly copiously from a bite on her hand. I asked them if their dog was bleeding, and asked if she was ok, but they ignored me. I asked the dog owners standing around who had started the fight (since I hadn't been able to see clearly), but no one seemed to know. I asked the woman again if she was ok, and she said that she was and told her SO that she wanted to stay. Since I wasn't about to stay there with the dogs agitated, I drug Zach away, grabbing Sebastian by the collar as well, just in case. Unfortunately, the leashes were several feet away, so I had to walk them over to them. We passed all of the other dogs without a problem, but (and this is definitely my bad) I had only a light grip on the collars as we passed the couple's second dog. Zach suddenly broke free and attacked him. As we wrestled those two apart, it was my turn to get my hand bitten. I'm pretty sure that it was the other dog's teeth that got me, as at that moment, Zach was hanging onto its throat for all he was worth. Once everything was sorted again, one of the other owners brought my leashes over, while the couple milled around for a while near the gate. Someone eventually pointed out to them that I couldn't actually leave while they were standing there without the dogs coming close to each other again. They left themselves at that point.

So I'm left with three perfectly calm dogs, two scraped knees, what feels like is going to be a whole heck of a lot of bruises covering my whole hand, what are either scrapes or shallow tooth marks on my wrist and the side of my hand, and one deep puncture on my palm near the base of my middle finger. I washed the hand well with soap and water, used alcohol on the puncture, and put a bandaid on it.

The reason why I'm telling this long-ass story and even bothering to ask, instead of just getting it checked out tomorrow (especially given that I already had an appointment for an unrelated matter), is that I'm worried about Zach. I've heard horror stories about dogs being destroyed for bites even when the fault isn't clear or doesn't lie with them, and that it's even more likely for dogs with pit bull shaped heads. Is my doctor required to report it to the authorities in any way? I know nothing about the dog that (probably) bit me, and I have no way to find out anything about him. I know that Zach is vaccinated for everything, but I have no such assurance on the other side. And aren't dog mouths pretty dirty?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 08-17-2009, 09:16 PM
Chief Pedant Chief Pedant is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
First, I am only skimming through this...CP is in a bit of a hurry tonite after a long day and frankly there was a lot to skim through.
Second, no internet advice is worth much.

Here are some rules of thumb:

The data are a bit soft, but most ED docs would probably give antibiotic prophylaxis to a penetrating dog bite of the hand. More important, thorough local irrigation (not just washing) is considered critical. Hand infections from all animal bites can be problematic. Human and cat bites are traditionally the worst, but even dog bites--especially penetrating ones--need expert irrigation.

It is not preferable to wait.

In my state (Illinois) all dog bites are reported. Among other things, appropriate vaccinations of the dogs involved are checked. I am not aware that dogs would be destroyed for getting in dog fights and it doesn't sound like any of the bites to humans would be what we consider unprovoked attacks. In the doggie world, sounds like those dogs were being dogs.

A dog owner or a dog lover (and CP is neither) might have more information for you on your concern about putting your dog at risk.

From a medical perspective, penetrating dog bites of the hand should receive immediate medical attention for the best care.

Last edited by Chief Pedant; 08-17-2009 at 09:18 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-17-2009, 09:38 PM
DSeid DSeid is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Of course I am not giving any advice specific to your particular case, but, in general, dog bites are not particularly prone to infection. Dog bites tear wide open most of the time which makes it easy for your home irrigation (yes, under freely flowing water, not just washing it) to have gotten all the germs out. Cat bites OTOH commonly infect as they are deep punctures that are hard to clean out. Still a doctor should be consulted. What a doctor needs to decide is if a puncture one like you describe warrants antibiotics vs watching out for signs of infection. (S)he'll also want to make sure that there is no sign that a tendon or nerve was hit. Hands are a higher risk area. The risk of rabies from a pet dog is low enough to ignore. I think the laws regarding reporting dog bites vary from state to state. Some private practice docs may even not realize that they are required to do so; ER docs see more and would.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-17-2009, 09:51 PM
mhendo mhendo is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
All i can offer is my own experience.

I got bitten by a dog while jogging a couple of years ago, on the upper thigh. I wasn't sure whether or not to go to the ER, but my wife insisted i go.

At the ER, they saw me quickly, and told me that it was good that i had come soon after the bite so that they could irrigate it properly with an antibiotic solution. They said that it's always best, with dog bites, to get it done properly rather than try to do it yourself at home, because they have the proper solution and they can get it deeper into the wound.

I know that the antibiotic hurt more than the bite itself. It certainly felt like it was getting right in there.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-17-2009, 09:58 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Chicago, Far Northsider
Posts: 5,610
What happens in Cook County, IL:

[Veterinary Professional Voice]

As long as you have proof of current rabies vaccination, and only if the bite from your dog is reported (did you give that lady your name and address?) you will get a "10-day rabies observation notice" this entails you taking your dog and the notice to your veterinarian for a 1st day exam.

You have to be able to prove that you can enclose your dog from any public exposure for 10 days - if you can do that, he can stay at home with you for the 10-day period. If you cannot (which includes walks for just eliminating outside - leash walking on public sidewalks is not acceptable, you have to have a private, enclosed yard where there is no chance for public access), then the observation period has to take place at the vet's office or the pound, where he will be kenneled for the duration.

On the 10th day, the vet examines your dog again for signs of rabies. If there are none, then he is cleared and the 10-day notice is mailed in.

[/Veterinary Professional Voice]

And there will be no signs of rabies!

It's the 10-day period that's a pain, and that's the law in Chicago. It may differ in other areas, but would be fairly similar anywhere else in the US, I would think, as Rabies is treated with equal seriousness in all US states.

The dog biting in question is really in context of dog-biting-human, and not dog-biting-dog. First or second offense is not so bad. Three strikes, and then your dog may be in some trouble, it depends on the circumstances and viciousness of the bites. This sounds more like dum-dum person getting in the way of teeth meant for another dog, and not a deliberate attack-on-human by your dog, which is not particularly concerning.

If you're going to the doc anyway on Tues. just have it looked at then. In the meantime, if there's swelling, redness, numbness, then there's a problem and I'd go to urgent care to start abo's right away. Bites on the hand have a way of becoming infected easily. Did you irrigate it really well, at least 10 minutes under running water? The treatment for the bite usually hurts worse than the bite iself. I speak from experience. I also know of people who were not proactive about care for the wound and ended up in the hospital.

I see more dog-on-dog violence from dog parks than anywhere except new-dog-to-the-house-fights. I only work weekends at the animal ER, but see a few of these a week. I'm not a fan of off-leash dog parks. Or off-leash anything in the city, really. It always ends badly.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-17-2009, 10:37 PM
Risha Risha is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Well, crap. Good thing I asked, then.

I did run water to try to irrigate it a little, but I wasn't very detailed about that one part and it wasn't anywhere close to 10 minutes. I'll go do that now.

It kind of sounds like I should consider going to the ER tonight, but I'm really not happy about that thought. First of all, pain in the ass, but secondly, the last time I did that my insurance didn't cover the doctor and cost me $400. (They covered the ER, but not the doctor I saw there. That still pisses me off.) I'm leaning towards just keeping an eye on it for any swelling et al and otherwise having it dealt with at my 10:30am doctor's appointment. Please feel free to yell at me if I'm being an idiot, and I will reconsider.

SeaDragonTattoo - excellent [Veterinary Professional Voice], thank you! I feel much better now. As it happens, I don't have any information about the other dog's owner, and I never gave them any of mine either. But I'm very, very relieved to hear that this wouldn't be considered a big deal in your area.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-18-2009, 09:57 AM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,800
Any chance you could go to the dog park (sans your own dogs) and hope the other dog's owners show up? That to me is the real concern: what if their dog isn't immunized against rabies?

Very long shot, I know - I don't suppose the incidence of dogs with rabies is particularly high, but I know it's a concern.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-18-2009, 02:44 PM
Risha Risha is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Update

Well, this is a pain in the ass.

I went to my doctor as planned, this morning. She was somewhat startled by the change in plans, but gave me a tetanus shot (specifically the Tdap), gave me a prescription for Augmentin, and sent one of the nurses to figure out how to report it to the town. She wasn't sure whether or not a rabies shot was recommended in this situation, however, and told me to call the ER and ask. After I left, I had a bunch of errands to run, so I decided to just stop by instead.

Reception sent me to the desk in the department proper, where one of the doctors overheard me telling my story to a nurse and said, yes, definitely, I should be checked in. So I went through the usual rigmarole, and ended up in front of a PA who asked me why I had even bothered to come, since everything that they would normally do had already been done. She did say that she'd double check with the Health Department, however. And an assistant eventually came back to run some solution over my hand for a few seconds, and put on a Band-Aid and some antibiotic cream (a.k.a., exactly what I did last night).

The orders came back that I would need to get the rabies series starting in five days if they can't locate the dog first. It's recommended, however, that I start doing everything I can to locate the dog myself, and contact the police to help.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Zappa
Any chance you could go to the dog park (sans your own dogs) and hope the other dog's owners show up? That to me is the real concern: what if their dog isn't immunized against rabies?
That was one of the suggestions they gave me, actually. I might need to go spend the day there tomorrow, but it's in the 90s all week here, so I'm not feeling very hopeful and it's going to royally suck.

I was told that the incidence of rabies in a domesticated pet dog is extremely low. But since rabies is almost 100% fatal, they don't mess around with it anyway.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-18-2009, 08:29 PM
Moirai Moirai is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Bummer.

My only bite came from my own dog (stupid me got between two of our dogs when they decided to fight out of the blue- they had to be permanently separated after that ). I went to the doc and he barely let us go without an "official" report (and only because it was my own dog). He irrigated the hell out of my hand and gave me some antibiotics.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-18-2009, 08:55 PM
Chief Pedant Chief Pedant is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Risha View Post
Well, this is a pain in the ass.

I went to my doctor as planned, this morning. She was somewhat startled by the change in plans, but gave me a tetanus shot (specifically the Tdap), gave me a prescription for Augmentin, and sent one of the nurses to figure out how to report it to the town. She wasn't sure whether or not a rabies shot was recommended in this situation, however, and told me to call the ER and ask. After I left, I had a bunch of errands to run, so I decided to just stop by instead.

Reception sent me to the desk in the department proper, where one of the doctors overheard me telling my story to a nurse and said, yes, definitely, I should be checked in. So I went through the usual rigmarole, and ended up in front of a PA who asked me why I had even bothered to come, since everything that they would normally do had already been done. She did say that she'd double check with the Health Department, however. And an assistant eventually came back to run some solution over my hand for a few seconds, and put on a Band-Aid and some antibiotic cream (a.k.a., exactly what I did last night).

The orders came back that I would need to get the rabies series starting in five days if they can't locate the dog first. It's recommended, however, that I start doing everything I can to locate the dog myself, and contact the police to help.
That was one of the suggestions they gave me, actually. I might need to go spend the day there tomorrow, but it's in the 90s all week here, so I'm not feeling very hopeful and it's going to royally suck.

I was told that the incidence of rabies in a domesticated pet dog is extremely low. But since rabies is almost 100% fatal, they don't mess around with it anyway.
I am not in the habit of disagreeing with real advice based on internet stories and interaction, so I can't help with your due diligence.

If I heard this story from you as one of my patients and if the details are accurate I would not recommend rabies unless a call to Animal Control for the county revealed that it was known to be recently endemic in the area and that the story around the other individual's dog was suspect. It is nevertheless true that an unprovoked attack from an unknown dog can be considered a reason for post-exposure rabies prophylaxis.

Most human rabies in recent years in the United States have bats for the wild vector.

I cannot, and am not, speaking to your exact situation. You are correct that what is at stake is your life. You will die if you get rabies.

Rabies is very unusual in domesticated dogs in a city environment because the wild vector is minimal. This is not to say an infected skunk could not have bitten the other individual's unvaccinated dog. But it is unlikely. In addition, your story doesn't sound to me like an unprovoked attack, which is one of the things we look for. It sounds to me as if your own dog is a bit nippy, and dogs are good at taking issue with other dogs who have that personality.

A bite considered at risk for rabies requires both local (and possibly peripheral) injection of anti rabies globulin as well as a series of vaccinations. http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/exposure/postexposure.html

If you were recommended only to have post-exposure vaccination without local infiltration with HRIG, I'd wonder how experienced the individual who treated you was. The basic deal is that you either meet criteria and get the full post-exposure treatment or you get no anti-rabies treatment.

The Pedant is old enough to have received anti-rabies vaccination back when they were a series of intra-abdominal shots. It is not a fond memory. It's not that big of a deal to get rabies treatment now, but you might consider a second opinion. Unfortunately, it's so doggone rare that few physicians are really comfortable with it until they get to my advanced age. One avenue might be to ask your personal physician if she'd be comfortable curb-siding her Infectious Disease colleague.

Last edited by Chief Pedant; 08-18-2009 at 08:58 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 08-18-2009, 09:04 PM
DSeid DSeid is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Some information for you.
Quote:
... Rabies prophylaxis is now recommended for any routine contact with at-risk animals...

... From 1980-2003, 40 cases of human rabies have been documented in the United States by the CDC, although this number is controversial based on questionable cases from other agencies. The animal sources in these cases have included predominantly bats and nondomestic dogs. Other animals rarely include skunks, foxes, and raccoon (one case).

In the 12 cases associated with dogs, actual exposure occurred outside of the United States, most commonly in Mexico. ...

... # Postexposure rabies prophylaxis

* All unprovoked animal attacks are considered high risk for rabies.
* If a bite or mucus membrane contact was inflicted by a domestic animal with known vaccination status, and if the owner can quarantine the animal for 10 days, postexposure prophylaxis can be withheld. ...
I'm not telling you what to do but it is possible that the health department physician did not receive the information that this was not an unprovoked attack by a dog (which by definition is a high risk exposure) and or that it was an owned pet dog (rather than a wild one). You may want to call your local health Department yourself or, if you trust that your doctor clearly understands what actually happened, ask her to phone consult an Infectious Disease doctor, before committing to a rabies series. No offense to the PA but after the confusion that got set up to be seen in that ER, I would be hesitant to trust the information relay process. Especially when it seems a bit over the top for a domestic domesticated dog bite that was not in an unprovoked circumstance.

On preview, yeah, what CP said.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 08-18-2009, 09:11 PM
Chief Pedant Chief Pedant is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Missed edit window to note that:

To the best of my knowledge, not a single case of human rabies acquired from a dog bite in the United States has been reported to the CDC between 1995 and 2006. http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/epidemiology.html

So sleep well.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 08-18-2009, 09:26 PM
Risha Risha is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
I certainly wouldn't be surprised if the information I got was garbled, considering I took an instant dislike to the PA based on the original conversation. Of course, that could be because I just spent $50 on a copay that she was implying was wasted.

I think that I'll start by calling the health department tomorrow - I should contact them anyway, to see if they heard anything, and what (if anything) they do to look for the other dog. It should be easy to slip some extra questions in there, hopefully to an actual expert rather then relying on this game of telephone some more. I'll call Dr. Shah after that if I can't get anything useful out of them.

Thank you, both you guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Pedant
To the best of my knowledge, not a single case of human rabies acquired from a dog bite in the United States has been reported to the CDC between 1995 and 2006. http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/epidemiology.html

So sleep well.
Honestly, I really haven't been sweating the possibility, given the odds. But I'm feeling the obligation to be a mature adult about my mortality, for once. Plus, the last two years have totally been a case of "anything that can go wrong, will go wrong" for my life.

(Hey, at least my name would be in the history books!)
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 08-19-2009, 07:16 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Chicago, Far Northsider
Posts: 5,610
Hey, Risha, there was mention of the other person getting bitten, too. Are you sure it was her own dog that bit her, too, and no chance it was Zach?

Just that there's a whole other can of worms to open if your dog bit her, too. If you're hand's healing, I really wouldn't pursue that path.

Speaking as a Tech who is not Rabies vaccinated herself, I wouldn't worry about it if I were in your shoes. Seriously, the chance that dog was rabid is 1 in the population of all the cats and dogs in the US, what's that, 1 in 1,370,000,000.

I think you have a better chance of winning the Lottery.

Don't worry so much! My main concern is just that the bite not become infected, since bites on the hand can get out of control really fast if not treated right away. You've got that covered.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 08-19-2009, 08:05 PM
Risha Risha is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
It's entirely possible it was Zach, though most of the time he seemed to have a grip on the other dog's throat. I know that he is healthy and is vaccinated for everything, though, so now that I've been assured that he won't be labeled by the town as vicious for one bite mid-dog fight, I don't care much about that bite.

(I mean, if it gets infected and her hand rots off like a bad zombie movie, I'll feel bad, but it's not going to be something I take responsibility for either.)
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 08-19-2009, 10:05 PM
Mosier Mosier is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Risha View Post
(Somehow this turned out really long - sorry.)

I went to the dog park this evening, as I do a few times a week. This is a large (maybe one acre?) fenced in area. It's very popular, so there's usually anywhere between two to twelve other dogs there, depending on the day and time I show up. On my part, I have three dogs - Sebastian (a large beagle mix), Bentley (a long haired miniature Dachshund), and the newest, Zach (a possible Basset Hound/Pit Bull mix?). Zach's about 40 pounds, and is very popular with the humans at the park because he is cute, funny looking, has the best puppy dog eyes in three counties, and follows everyone around in order to better adore them. He does have a temper of sorts, though - he's perfectly fine until he feels overwhelmed by another dog (which takes a lot of prolonged, direct aggression towards him), at which time he'll give a piercing squeak/growl/bark and exactly one vicious snarl/snap, which has never pierced skin but has frightened the hell out of every dog that has ever tried to push him around.

Tonight, we'd been at the park for more than an hour, and there were three other dogs there - two large ones who had been there for almost the whole time, and a medium sized one who had just arrived a few minutes before. Everyone was playing peacefully. I was a fair way from the gate when the entire pack rushed for it. A couple was coming in with a large dog and a very large dog - a mastiff, maybe? As I headed that way, VLD, still on the far side of the inside gate, started barking. I picked up my pace, because I could see Zach was right up front of the group and the barking didn't sound friendly, though I wasn't actually expecting a problem. But I was still a distance away when the couple opened the gate and there was suddenly a snarling mass of dog fight underway. There were a few dogs involved at first, but as I was running, it resolved into Zach throwing VLD up against the fence and grabbing its throat. The couple grabbed at their dog, I grabbed Zach, and I wrestled him away with the help of some yelling and a smack on the butt.

The woman was bleeding fairly copiously from a bite on her hand. I asked them if their dog was bleeding, and asked if she was ok, but they ignored me. I asked the dog owners standing around who had started the fight (since I hadn't been able to see clearly), but no one seemed to know. I asked the woman again if she was ok, and she said that she was and told her SO that she wanted to stay. Since I wasn't about to stay there with the dogs agitated, I drug Zach away, grabbing Sebastian by the collar as well, just in case. Unfortunately, the leashes were several feet away, so I had to walk them over to them. We passed all of the other dogs without a problem, but (and this is definitely my bad) I had only a light grip on the collars as we passed the couple's second dog. Zach suddenly broke free and attacked him. As we wrestled those two apart, it was my turn to get my hand bitten. I'm pretty sure that it was the other dog's teeth that got me, as at that moment, Zach was hanging onto its throat for all he was worth. Once everything was sorted again, one of the other owners brought my leashes over, while the couple milled around for a while near the gate. Someone eventually pointed out to them that I couldn't actually leave while they were standing there without the dogs coming close to each other again. They left themselves at that point.

So I'm left with three perfectly calm dogs, two scraped knees, what feels like is going to be a whole heck of a lot of bruises covering my whole hand, what are either scrapes or shallow tooth marks on my wrist and the side of my hand, and one deep puncture on my palm near the base of my middle finger. I washed the hand well with soap and water, used alcohol on the puncture, and put a bandaid on it.

The reason why I'm telling this long-ass story and even bothering to ask, instead of just getting it checked out tomorrow (especially given that I already had an appointment for an unrelated matter), is that I'm worried about Zach. I've heard horror stories about dogs being destroyed for bites even when the fault isn't clear or doesn't lie with them, and that it's even more likely for dogs with pit bull shaped heads. Is my doctor required to report it to the authorities in any way? I know nothing about the dog that (probably) bit me, and I have no way to find out anything about him. I know that Zach is vaccinated for everything, but I have no such assurance on the other side. And aren't dog mouths pretty dirty?
Your dog attacked other dogs while you were holding the leash. We know at least that much, right? Whether he bit the woman or not, Zach doesn't sound as adorable as you try to portray him.

I would suggest that if you don't know which dog bit you, and it was enough to draw blood, you should be very careful about how you handle the wound. I can't see it myself to give you specific advice, but even a clean dog's mouth has lots of nasty bacteria you wouldn't want in your blood stream. If you have any doubt about the depth of the wounds or whether your first aid treatment was effective, you should see a doctor. If you're worried about your little throat chomper getting busted, just tell a little white lie and say it was a strange dog at the park who you don't know. It's not technically a lie, even.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 08-19-2009, 10:12 PM
Mosier Mosier is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mosier View Post
Your dog attacked other dogs while you were holding the leash. We know at least that much, right? Whether he bit the woman or not, Zach doesn't sound as adorable as you try to portray him.

I would suggest that if you don't know which dog bit you, and it was enough to draw blood, you should be very careful about how you handle the wound. I can't see it myself to give you specific advice, but even a clean dog's mouth has lots of nasty bacteria you wouldn't want in your blood stream. If you have any doubt about the depth of the wounds or whether your first aid treatment was effective, you should see a doctor. If you're worried about your little throat chomper getting busted, just tell a little white lie and say it was a strange dog at the park who you don't know. It's not technically a lie, even.
Note to self; read entire thread next time.

Ignore what I said, now that you've already been to the doctor.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 08-19-2009, 11:16 PM
Risha Risha is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mosier View Post
Your dog attacked other dogs while you were holding the leash. We know at least that much, right? Whether he bit the woman or not, Zach doesn't sound as adorable as you try to portray him.
I'm not sure if you were taking this part back as well, but he was off leash in an off leash dog park. And I don't think he started it originally, though I could be wrong. Like I said, I didn't have a good view, and no one else who were closer seemed to be able to tell for sure either.

The second time was definitely him, though I plead "already agitated" for that one. Still, you're absolutely correct that it's problematic behavior, though it's not behavior he's displayed before. If it was him who started it originally, I'm not sure how I'm going to figure out what the trigger was (unless he does it again at some point *crosses fingers that doesn't happen*). I'm pretty sure he was abused at some point in the past, or at least starved - I had to feed him separately for a few weeks at first, until he learned that he would always get fed enough and therefore didn't have to snarl the other two away from their own food or try to steal it.

We actually went back today. (I'm selling my house, so I need to get them out of the house while people are coming through. The realtor couldn't give me better than a two hour window this time. *bitter*) You better believe that I watched him like a hawk. We started out in the (empty) separate small dog section, where they could sniff at the ones on the other side of the fence, and when we moved over, I kept him on leash until he had met all of the dogs without any signs of aggression. And then I kept right on his tail the whole time with leash in hand, just in case. There was a rat terrier there that kept harassing him (and all the others) the whole time, which I was worried about, but Zach just kept moving away from him. I'm feeling cautiously optimistic. He didn't even blink when larger dogs stole the toys from him, and he's a total toy whore.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 08-20-2009, 12:13 PM
TheBaptiste TheBaptiste is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Where in NJ are you? So I know to stay the hell away from your vicious dog, unless you are a girl and attractive...in that case I would like to assist is his training.

Last edited by TheBaptiste; 08-20-2009 at 12:14 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 08-20-2009, 12:58 PM
Risha Risha is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcheckwood View Post
Where in NJ are you? So I know to stay the hell away from your vicious dog, unless you are a girl and attractive...in that case I would like to assist is his training.
Northern NJ, Morris County.

You are more then welcome to come and have him sit on your feet and gaze at you adoringly, if you'd like; I am female, though the attractiveness is in the eyes of the beholder.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 08-21-2009, 10:12 AM
Sailboat Sailboat is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
When I was bitten by a Rottweiler (not as scary as it sounds) my physician told me that he almost never sees serious infection from dog bites. I had washed it with water and followed up with peroxide, and that seemed to satisfy him. He sent me to a hand specialist just to verify everything was hunky dory; said specialist watched me move my hand, and touched my fingertips and observed me twitch, then sent me out the door.

I did have most of the rabies series last year after a cat bite; the cat had been vaccinated but the vaccination status had lapsed 3 months past recommended update, and everyone advised me to go ahead and get the shots, since there had been sick foxes running in the same woods in which the cat was loose. Both I and the cat are fine (and I've seen one healthy-looking fox this year -- not sure if it could be the same one).
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 09-16-2012, 01:06 PM
Arkcon Arkcon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Pedant View Post
The data are a bit soft, but most ED docs would probably give antibiotic prophylaxis to a penetrating dog bite of the hand. More important, thorough local irrigation (not just washing) is considered critical. Hand infections from all animal bites can be problematic. Human and cat bites are traditionally the worst, but even dog bites--especially penetrating ones--need expert irrigation.

It is not preferable to wait.
Sorry to bump up a 3 year old thread, but I did want everyone to know that I did search the forums first before posting. Can anyone, either Chief Pedant: or another regular define for me what is a "penetrating bite to the hand"

Just a couple of hours ago my mother was nipped on the thumb by a small dog on the street. Possibly a nip-prone terrier breed. I'm guessing that the dog is so tiny, that rabies is not an issue. The puncture wound is tiny, not even a centimeter long. She tried to squeeze the blood out as we walked home. (Mom is cut from tougher stuff than I am.) We did try to wash it very thoroughly once home. I applied hydrogen peroxide to try and aerate it well. We also tried to cut the flap of skin that folded over the wound ... well, I suggested it, and tried it, she succeeded (c.f. above.) I put Neosporin on the wound and a band-aid over it.

Does she need immediate irrigation cleaning of the tiny wound, or maybe a later checkup for some sort of injection? Those are the sorts of questions I have.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 09-16-2012, 01:31 PM
Morgenstern Morgenstern is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkcon View Post
Sorry to bump up a 3 year old thread, but I did want everyone to know that I did search the forums first before posting. Can anyone, either Chief Pedant: or another regular define for me what is a "penetrating bite to the hand"

Just a couple of hours ago my mother was nipped on the thumb by a small dog on the street. Possibly a nip-prone terrier breed. I'm guessing that the dog is so tiny, that rabies is not an issue. The puncture wound is tiny, not even a centimeter long. She tried to squeeze the blood out as we walked home. (Mom is cut from tougher stuff than I am.) We did try to wash it very thoroughly once home. I applied hydrogen peroxide to try and aerate it well. We also tried to cut the flap of skin that folded over the wound ... well, I suggested it, and tried it, she succeeded (c.f. above.) I put Neosporin on the wound and a band-aid over it.

Does she need immediate irrigation cleaning of the tiny wound, or maybe a later checkup for some sort of injection? Those are the sorts of questions I have.
IANAMD, but I'm guessing that a penetrating bite is one which breaks the skin and causes bleeding.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 09-16-2012, 02:04 PM
Lasciel Lasciel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
IANAD, but here's the basic difference:

Graze: like what happens when you fall off a bike and scuff your knees, or if you fall down and catch your palms on pavement.

Penetrating: what it looks like if you stuck yourself with a nail, or something's tooth.

In other words, if it looks like this: it is all surface damage, and you can clean it all fine yourself, because you can get to it all. In other words, you should be fine.

If it looks like this then there's a lot of interior space that you're not getting the cleanser into, and you need to go to a doctor to make sure that it ALL gets cleaned, up inside the cut itself.


In entirely different news, the SIZE of an animal doesn't have anything to do with whether it gets rabies or not - most rabies infections come from teeny tiny bats!

The important thing to figure out is if the dog is a STRAY, and came up unprovoked and bit your mom, or if it belonged to someone and she was petting it and it got peeved. If the first option is true - PLEASE try to find the dog, and get it checked for rabies. Your mom may need shots. Rabies is rare, but that's at least partly because people are very careful about it. If she gets rabies, she will DIE.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 09-16-2012, 02:24 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 25,444
Since this involves medical advice, it's best suited to IMHO.

Please note this thread is more than three years old.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:04 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.