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Dog and Animal Bites

Hand and Plastic surgeon treating dog bites in Dallas 

Dog bites to the hand, face, and body can be serious. Especially if the dog, human, or animal bite is deep or if the wound becomes infected. Getting prompt care for a dog bite can help to prevent serious infection, deformity, or loss of function. The hand has many critical and anatomic structures that often need repair. These include the nerves, tendons, arteries, joints, bones, and soft tissues.  Similarly, the face has critical structures, and left untreated a dog bite can result in numbness, loss of function, scarring, and a poor cosmetic appearance. 

Are all dog bites serious?  

A dog bite can be serious no matter the size, age, type, or breed of the dog.  There can be many reasons why a dog bites. 

Why do dogs bite?

Dogs have close relationships with humans.  Dogs feel emotions much like humans and these emotions can be positive or negative.  Dogs can bite because of anxiety, pain, stress, or when protecting their owner.  Dog bites can lead to extensive damage regardless of the cause.  

How is a dog bite to the hand or face cared for?

A dog bite is cared for with a number of steps including cleansing, antibiotic treatments, repair of damage to deeper structures, and removal of damaged or dead tissue. Preventing swelling is essential to allow proper wound healing.  Vaccinations, involvement of animal control, and imaging (such as X-rays) are also critical after a bite.  


Cleaning the wound can be as simple as washing or can involve surgical removal of dead tissues or removal of foreign bodies from the wound.  


Vaccinations against serious illnesses are critical as a dog bite needs preventive measures to avoid tetanus and rabies.

Specialists and Emergency care

Getting prompt emergency care is important as receiving antibiotics as soon as possible can prevent serious infection.  

Animal control after a bite

Calling Animal Control especially if the dog is unknown to the person who is bitten is critical.  Animal control helps to prevent future bites, protects the community, determines the dog’s vaccination status, and helps identify the dog or animal.  Although rabies is very rare it can be potentially fatal and should be taken seriously.  Monitoring or examining the animal can be critical in determining the rabies risk. 

Dog biting finger.

What kind of infections can come from a dog bite?

There are several types of infections that can come from a dog bite.

  • Cellulitis: is a bacterial infection of the skin and soft tissues that causes redness, swelling, pain, warmth, and loss of function.  
  • Tetanus: is a bacterial infection that causes muscle spasms and stiffness, especially in the jaw and neck.  
  • Rabies: is a viral infection that can come from an infected animal.  Rabies can cause fever, headaches muscle spasms and can be deadly if untreated.
  • Pasteurella: is a bacterial infection that is common after dog and cat bites.  Pasteurella infections can result in redness, swelling, pain, and loss of function.  
  • MRSA: infections are infections that are resistant to many antibiotics.  Mrsa infections can present with redness, fever, pus, and infection despite being on antibiotics.  

Are cat bites more serious than dog bites?

Cat bites have been traditionally thought of as more serious than dog bites because cats have long sharp teeth that inject bacteria deep into the underlying tissues.  Cats also can transmit a severe bacterial infection known as Pasteurella Multocida.  A bite from any animal can be serious.  Human bites can actually be the most serious because the body does not immediately recognize the bacteria as foreign.  

Dog biting hand.

Hand and Plastic Surgeon in Dallas for dog, human, or animal bites

As both a hand surgeon and a plastic surgeon Doctor Azouz is able to take care of dog bites throughout the body including on the face, hands, forearms, and body.   This includes dog bites that have happened recently or those that have become infected or resulted in scarring or deformity.  

We would love to help you at 972-702-8888.