Presenting problem: Bite Wounds

Key Points

  • Triage the bite wound patient for life threatening internal injuries such as coelomic penetration.
  • Stabilize the patient before initiating wound management. Provide hemostasis, supplemental oxygen, and supplemental heat as needed.
  • The superficial appearance of a bite wound can be misleading. Deeper structures often suffer from hematoma formation, necrosis, and bacterial invasion.
  • Bite wound infections are often polymicrobial, involving a broad mixture of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.
  • The danger of infection caused by Pasteurella spp. is high in victims of cat bite wounds.
  • Reduce the risk of bite wounds in reptiles by feeding pre-killed prey and removing uneaten prey items within 15-30 minutes.
  • A broad spectrum beta-lactamase inhibiting antibiotic like amoxicillin-clavulanate is a commonly used to treat bite wounds in patients with simple guts such as ferrets and parrots.
  • The risk of dysbiosis makes beta-lactams a dangerous choice for hindgut fermenters, like rabbits and many rodents, therefore potentiated sulfa drugs or fluroquinolones are popular choices in these species.
  • Good bandaging practice protects the wound from contamination and supports the wound while it heals.

Bite wounds are not confined to small animal practice. Bite wounds are a common and significant problem in clinical practice, and LafeberVet's presenting problem article features urgent care tips for this universal problem of veterinary patients. The incidence of bite wounds increases with a history of exposure to the outdoors or to other animals. The owner may even report a fight or interaction that results in a bite wound . . .

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