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Is it normal to have swelling after a dog bite?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
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I was bitten by a dog on my hand last night (about 24 hours ago). Cleansed with irrigation solution and went to see the family doctor today. The doctor cleansed the wound and gave me antibiotics (Curam 1000mg) to be taken twice daily. Just cleansed the wound now and noted that there's quite a bit of swelling around the wound and feeling pain as well. Is this expected? When will the swelling subside? Should I revisit the doctor again soon or after the course do antibiotics?
Posted Mon, 30 Dec 2013 in Medicines and Side Effects
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 2 hours later
Brief Answer: it is an expected reaction Detailed Answer: HI, thanks for using healthcare magic Yes, the swelling and pain would be expected. It would be the expected response to any trauma such as a dog bite. The swelling occurs as a result of the normal release of chemicals that occur in trauma. These chemicals cause fluid to move from inside the cells to the surrounding tissues. This movement of fluid causes the swelling that you are noticed. Pain is also part of the body's inflammatory response. The antibiotic that you are using is the recommended antibiotic after a dog bite. In addition to the antibiotic , you may need the rabies vaccine. The normal course of rabies vaccine involves administering the vaccine on day 0, 3, 7, 14 and 28. If during the course of receiving the vaccine, the dog is observed and is not showing any symptoms after 10 days then you do not need to complete the vaccination course. If the owner can say that the dog was vaccinated then it can be observed at home, if not it may need to be observed at a vets office If you previously received the rabies vaccine you do not need it again. I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
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Follow-up: Is it normal to have swelling after a dog bite? 5 hours later
Hi, thanks. The dog had the rabies vaccination. Anyways for reference, typically when would the swelling be gone?
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 41 minutes later
Brief Answer: takes 36 to 48 hours Detailed Answer: HI The swelling should start to decrease by 36 to 48 hours. if you are using an anti inflammatory pain medication such as ibuprofen, cataflam, aspirin, naproxen etc, it will resolve sooner. You can also elevate it slightly whenever possible
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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