Animal bites are usually from dogs and cats in the United Kingdom. Typically,
the hand is injuried during a defensive motion. The history is usually obvious;
clinically there is cellulitis with associated lymphangitis. Osteomyelitis, tendon
and joint injury also may occur.
The organisms involved is much the same
as for human bites e.g. mixed anaerobes, streptococci. However, the Gram-negative
coccus Pasteurella multocida is also common. The likelihood of rabies should be
assessed in the history.
Any penetrating injury should be explored. Wound
excision, irrigation and delayed closure may all be necessary. Treatment with
antibiotics is mandatory. Radiography for foreign bodies may prove useful: all
should be removed. Tetanus prophylaxis should be given. The hand should be splinted