Children are intrigued by animals, but they often fail to understand how dangerous animals can be. Pediatric animal bites can occur from wild or unfamiliar animals, but children can also be bitten by their pets or animals that they spend a large amount of time with. While most animal bites are not serious, there are times when you should take precautions to make sure that your child’s injury heals properly.
Common Causes of Pediatric Animal Bites:
- Wild animals – Wild animals can carry rabies, which is a deadly virus. If your child has been bitten by a bat, raccoon, skunk, rabbit or squirrel, he may be at risk of getting rabies or other diseases carried by wild animals. He may also need to have the injury cleaned and bandaged to prevent infections.
- Domestic animals – Domestic animals, including cats, dogs, hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs, may bite their owners if they are startled or feel threatened. If the bite is minor, you can wash the wound with warm water and soap to prevent it from getting infected. If the bite is severe, your child may need stitches in order to prevent the wound from leaving a large scar.
- Spider bites – Some spiders are so small that children may not know that they have been bitten until they see a raised area. A doctor may need to evaluate the bite and the area around it in order to determine if the spider was venomous. If you can see the spider that bit your child, you should capture it and take it with you to the doctor’s office so that he can determine the best course of action when treating the bite. The doctor may also want to prescribe antibiotics so that your child’s injury does not become infected.
- Snake bites – Children may be bitten by snakes if they handle them in the wild or if they accidentally startle one outside. Snake bites may be painful, but they are not usually harmful if the snake is non-venomous. If the bite is from a venomous snake, then you should contact a doctor immediately about treating the bite.
When to call a doctor:
If your child is bitten by an animal that does not carry rabies, then you can gently wash out the wound with soap and water. If the bite is large and won’t stop bleeding, you should call your child’s doctor. He will help you determine whether you child has had his most recent tetanus vaccination, and he may prescribe antibiotics to prevent the bite from becoming infected. If the animal was rabid, then the doctor can prescribe a rabies treatment plan for your child.
Call 911 immediately when:
- The animal bite is severe or has caused significant damage
- Your child has been bitten by a venomous spider or snake
- Your child has trouble breathing after being bitten by an animal
If your child has been bitten by an animal, visit us immediately. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is here 24/7 to help your little one feel better. Our board-certified physicians will get you taken care of, within the comforts of our fully-stocked facility. Schedule an emergency room appointment with us.