Dog Bites

According to a recent study, nearly 4.5 million Americans are involved in dog bite incidents annually. If you have suffered an animal biting injury, plastic surgery may be a helpful treatment to ensure that you minimize long-term cosmetic and functional implications.  Dr. Reynolds has over a decade of experience in dealing with issues like dog bites and similar lacerations and can help you determine if a procedure is necessary.

There are certain considerations in treating a dog bite. See the discussion on lacerations for a quick read on the treatment of lacerations. The biggest concern is bacteria (microbiology). The types are bacteria on the teeth, gums, tongue and lips of a dog are often a source of infection in humans. The bacteria in a dog’s mouth are often bacteria that are called enteric bacteria. These bacteria come from the bowels. A dog may clean itself by licking the parts of the fur located near the anal verge of the dog. The bacteria located near the anal verge are then transferred onto the tongue (and other structures in the mouth). The dog has so much of these types of bacteria in the mouth, it is considered a normal part of the oral microbiology of a dog’s mouth. But in a human, these types of bacteria are not normal and are a source of infection after a dog bite.

The treating surgeon is aware of this and after debridement and closing of the wound, the selection of an antibiotic to cover these types of bacteria is selected for the patient. These patients are seen in follow-up clinic to evaluate healing, looking for signs of infection and removal of the sutures.