Animal Bites – Causes and When to Seek Emergency Room Treatment
Animal bites can happen without warning and may seem insignificant but they can quickly become infected if not treated immediately.
Neglecting a bite from an animal can be fatal since some animals are venomous and others may carry rabies. If you have suffered an animal bite, it is important that you receive medical treatment immediately.
SignatureCare Emergency Center ERs are located in Houston (Westchase, Memorial City, Montrose and Houston Heights), Stafford, Austin, College Station, Sugar Land, Atascocita/Humble, Spring, Lewisville, Midland, Odessa, Texarkana, Paris, Killeen, College Station/Bryan, and other cities in TX, and they are staffed with board-certified physicians and registered nurses with experience treating animal bites.
Get treatment for the affected site as soon as possible. A Tetanus shot may be necessary, and our emergency room can help you – but you should visit the ER as quickly as possible after you have been bitten.
Causes of Animal Bites
Domestic Animal Bites
Domestic animals are typically known as pets, but they may still bite their owners if they feel angry or threatened. There are several types of domestic pets. Even if your pet has recently been immunized against rabies, you or the person who has been bitten should still see a doctor to prevent infection and other complications.
Dog Bites – Dogs are more likely to bite humans than other domestic animals. While some dog bites may not be serious, others may be severe and require stitches or reconstructive surgery. There have even been deaths related to severe dog bites. Visit the nearest emergency room as soon as you have been bitten to protect yourself.
Cat Bites – Cat bites are serious because they often puncture the skin. This makes it difficult to clean the site, which makes the area susceptible to infection.
Wild Animal Bites – Wild animal bites need to be treated immediately by a medical professional. It is important that you visit the closest emergency room immediately. Wild animals often carry rabies and tetanus, especially raccoons, skunks, squirrels, rabbits, and bats. Contact the closest SignatureCare Emergency Center if you have been bitten by a wild animal.
Snake Bites – All snakes may strike out and bite humans when provoked, but bites from venomous snakes require immediate attention. There are four types of venomous snakes in the United States:
- Coral Snake
- Water Moccasin
A board-certified medical professional can supply anti-venom that will slow the toxin’s effect on the body.
If you are not sure if you were bitten by a venomous snake, try to safely capture the snake and take it with you to the doctor (do so only if it is safe – another option is to try to capture a picture with your cell phone).
Spider Bites – Spider bites from black widow or brown recluse spiders should be treated immediately at the emergency room. These bites can cause serious health complications, including difficulty breathing, vomiting, and tissue damage.
It may be helpful to capture the spider without killing it so that your doctor can determine if the bite is from a venomous spider (do so only if it is safe – another options is to try to capture a picture with your cell phone). If you kill the spider, your doctor may not be able to clearly see the markings that would allow him to identify the species.
When to Seek Treatment or Visit the Emergency Room for Animal Bites
If the bite is very minor and has barely scraped the skin, you can simply wash it thoroughly with soap and warm water before applying an antibacterial cream to prevent an infection. If the bite has punctured the skin, then you should stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound with a dry, clean cloth and then come into our emergency room as soon as possible for medical treatment.
Animal Bites that Require Immediate Emergency Room Treatment
- The animal was wild or may carry rabies or tetanus
- The bite is severe enough to need stitches
- The bite is from a venomous snake or spider
- The bite is from a bat
- You experience difficulty breathing
If you have been bitten by an animal, please visit our emergency room immediately. Our emergency rooms are open 24/7 to clean and treat your animal bites so that you are protected against infections and rabies.
Infections can happen with any type of animal bite, so if you’ve been bitten by an animal, visit the closest SignatureCare Emergency Center as soon as you are bitten. Our emergency room doctors are board-certified and always available to help you.
Our facility is always open! Schedule an emergency room appointment with us.