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What to Do When an Animal Bites

What to Do When an Animal Bites

It’s no secret that people love their pets. Dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, fish, and reptiles can all serve as companions and additional members of a household. On occasion, though, individuals may suffer animal bites at the hands of their pets, the pets of others, or stray animals. While most animal injury cases are the result of dog bites, the following is a general guide to keeping safe in the event of a bite by any animal. If you have been bit, you should seek appropriate medial attention.

Minor Bites

A minor bite is one that has only punctured the skin. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water, apply an antibiotic cream, and cover the bite with a clean bandage.

Major Bites

Signs of a major bite include: badly torn and/or bleeding skin, swelling, redness, pain, and/or oozing (signs of infection). Immediately apply pressure to the affected area with a bandage or clean cloth to stop the bleeding, then seek medical attention.

More Information

  • If the bite was caused by a cat or a dog, try to confirm that its rabies vaccination is up to date.
  • If the bite was caused by a wild animal, seek advice from your doctor about which animals are most likely to carry rabies.
  • Cat bites can look minor, but they can be serious because a fang puncture can leave bacteria deep in the wound.
  • Bats often carry rabies, and people can become infected without seeing any of the signs listed above. The CDC recommends that those in contact with bats (or those who awaken to find a bat in the bedroom) seek medical attention.
  • If you haven’t had a tetanus shot in the past five years, you may be due for a booster shot.


Even though we love our furry friends, animal bites are serious. If you or a loved one has been bit by someone’s pet consult with your preferred medical professional then contact us for an evaluation of your case.

Nelson Personal Injury is here to help. We know that you will have many questions about your rights and the claim process. Visit our Dog Bite overview page at the link below to receive a free case evaluation, or call us today at (320)-252-1200. All consultations with our experienced dog bite attorneys are confidential and without obligation.

Note: This article uses information provided by the Mayo Clinic, available at their website.

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