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I was bitten on the hand by my own dog

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Posted on Wed, 20 Mar 2019
Question: I was bitten on the hand by my own dog about an hour ago. it hurts tremendously and i had a long time getting the bleeding to stop. my tears continued for a while, too. (I have fibromyalgia, so any pain response is increased for me). I have washed the hand, applied neosporin and iced it. any further advice?
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
most people flushing, elevation and topical medication is enough

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

It is quite understandable to be in discomfort esp with the history of fibromyalgia.

Washing the hand/irrigating the affected area is very important so it is good that this was part of your initial response, at least 100ml to 200ml per inch of the wound is generally suggested.
If the bites (if areas of open skin) are very small as with a small dog, some docs may open them slightly to further reduce the chance of infection because this helps them to be washed out properly.

You may need a tetanus injection if you have not received one in the last 5 years, also if the dog has not received its rabies shot as yet, you may also need to be covered for this.

The area should be kept elevated as much as possible, this reduces swelling and can also help with pain management. A sterile gauze dressing , if available, can be applied over the area to prevent further contamination.

In most persons with animal bites, oral antibiotics are not needed- flushing to wound properly and the use of topical treatment every day, is enough but in some cases, oral antibiotics are recommended---Hand wounds, massive crush injury , cat bites (not relevant here), late presentation to healthcare and poor general physical health which may affect healing time.

Summary- most persons if washed a lot and treated quickly have no problem

If it involves the hand or it is large or poor healing- should be seen, may need a course of oral antibiotics

Increasing swelling or increasing pain or increasing redness or increasing warmth or presence of a discharge means that there is an infection requiring antibiotics

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 16811 Questions

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I was bitten on the hand by my own dog

Brief Answer: most people flushing, elevation and topical medication is enough Detailed Answer: HI, thanks for using healthcare magic It is quite understandable to be in discomfort esp with the history of fibromyalgia. Washing the hand/irrigating the affected area is very important so it is good that this was part of your initial response, at least 100ml to 200ml per inch of the wound is generally suggested. If the bites (if areas of open skin) are very small as with a small dog, some docs may open them slightly to further reduce the chance of infection because this helps them to be washed out properly. You may need a tetanus injection if you have not received one in the last 5 years, also if the dog has not received its rabies shot as yet, you may also need to be covered for this. The area should be kept elevated as much as possible, this reduces swelling and can also help with pain management. A sterile gauze dressing , if available, can be applied over the area to prevent further contamination. In most persons with animal bites, oral antibiotics are not needed- flushing to wound properly and the use of topical treatment every day, is enough but in some cases, oral antibiotics are recommended---Hand wounds, massive crush injury , cat bites (not relevant here), late presentation to healthcare and poor general physical health which may affect healing time. Summary- most persons if washed a lot and treated quickly have no problem If it involves the hand or it is large or poor healing- should be seen, may need a course of oral antibiotics Increasing swelling or increasing pain or increasing redness or increasing warmth or presence of a discharge means that there is an infection requiring antibiotics I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions