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Human bites account for 4-23% of bite injuries, and may be particularly prone to infection (occurring in 9-50% of human bites). Complications include septicaemia, septic arthritis and tenosynovitis, and very rarely, tetanus. Dog bites account for 60-90% of bites, and characteristically involve puncture wounds from the canine teeth, and stretch lacerations. Infection occurs in 2-30% of dog bites. Cat bites account for 5-20% of bite injuries and are also prone to infection. Management of any bite involves removal of any foreign bodies e.g. teeth from the wound, encouraging the wound to bleed, thorough irrigation, advising appropriate analgesia and prescribing prophylactic antibiotics if the wound is less that 48 hours old for animal bites, less than 72 hours old for human bites. Refer to A&E for further assessment if wound closure is necessary. Consider the need for tetanus and rabies prophylaxis.

Clinical Knowledge Summaries. Bites – human and animal

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