Health Watch - Biting: Dog Bites

Health Watch is a Public Service of the University News Bureau and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about the variety of bites that might happen during the summer. Summer is the most common season for dog bites, and children are the most frequent victims.

Children are often bitten on the face, which can leave serious lacerations that require reconstructive surgery. Dr. Ron Hoxworth, a plastic surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says most bites don’t come from stray dogs, but rather from dogs who may be familiar to the child. Dogs are territorial animals, especially when they’re eating, and small children are unpredictable in their behavior. That’s a dangerous combination. Parents should watch children carefully when they’re around dogs – even the family pets – and should keep children away from dogs when they’re eating. Immunizations should be kept up-to-date for both dogs and children. Seek treatment immediately if there is a dog bite, especially if there’s bleeding.

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July 2011

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