Animal & Dog Bites
Animal and Dog Bites in Killeen
While animals will avoid contact with humans, they can attack if they feel threatened, are ill or wounded, or are protecting their young. Animal saliva can be contaminated with bacteria, and bites or scratches can present a serious risk for tetanus, bacterial infections and even rabies. In fact, it is estimated that there are 35,000-55,000 deaths worldwide from rabies every year.
If you suspect you have been exposed to rabies after receiving a bite or scratch by a wild animal or dog, seek medical attention. Early symptoms of rabies include:
As the disease progresses, symptoms will worsen and may include:
- Tingling sensation at site of bite
- Fear of water
- Difficulty swallowing
The Centers for Disease Control recommends keeping your tetanus vaccinations current. In addition, they advise that you refrain from handling, petting or feeding unfamiliar or wild animals.
Wild rodents, such as rats, can carry bacterial, viral and parasitic infections that may pose a risk to your health. Rodents should not be handled and any food that you suspect has been contaminated by urine or rodent feces should not be handled or eaten. If you experience fever after being exposed to rodents, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible to rule out the possibility of exposure to diseases such as Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis, or leptospirosis.
Bats also pose a risk. If you happen upon a bat that is active during the day, unable to fly properly, or in an area not usually frequented by bats, it is advisable to avoid all contact. These unnatural behaviors may be indicators of viral infection, hemorrhagic fever or rabies. Do not attempt to handle the bat. Leaving the area is advisable to avoid contact and potential infection.
Nearly 800,000 people seek medical attention for dog bites every year in the United States. Half of those bitten are children and over 386,000 of bite victims require some form of treatment in an emergency room or clinic. Dog bites can be prevented by maintaining a healthy respect for the animals and observing the following safety suggestions:
- Report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to authorities
- Never approach an unfamiliar dog
- Never disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or caring for their pups
- Avoid direct eye contact with a dog
- Never attempt to pet a dog before allowing it to sniff you first
- Remain motionless when approached by an unfamiliar dog
- Do not scream and run away
- If you are knocked down by a dog, roll into a ball and lie as still as possible
- Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first
Seek Medical Attention
If you are bitten by a dog or an unfamiliar or wild animal, thoroughly cleanse your wound and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Obtain as much information about the location or owner of the animal or dog as you can since you may later need to confirm they do carry the rabies virus. Of course, this will not always be possible if the animal is wild.