Animal bite, how to deal with it ?

Olà, this is Dr Joy!
Animal bite ? Unfortunately, it does happen. But this kind of wound is almost always infected and needs to be closely monitored.
Here is my advice.

Recognising a serious animal bite

A bite is considered serious if :

  • it is deep,
  • it has touched sensitive parts such as tendons, ligaments, bones
  • it bleeds profusely
  • it involves the face, neck or genitals
  • it is tearing
  • The person complains of a loss of sensitivity or movement of the bitten limb.

You should then see a doctor to avoid any risk of infection or complications.
But first, wash the wound with soap and water for several minutes and apply an antiseptic. If the wound is bleeding heavily, apply firm pressure to the area with a clean cloth or bandage to stop the bleeding.

This type of bite often requires preventive antibiotic treatment and a tetanus booster if the vaccination is not up to date.

Avoiding the risk of rabies

The main risk of an animal bite is rabies and dogs account for 99% of the cases of transmission to humans.
In the event of a bite, veterinary supervision of the animal for 15 days is necessary (24 hours, 7 days and 15 days)
If signs of rabies occur in the animal, or if the animal cannot be found or has been killed, vaccination of the victim is essential, because when rabies occurs in humans, it cannot be cured.

Where to get a rabies vaccination in Lisbon

If you need to be vaccinated after a bite, go to

Hospital de Santa Maria
Serviço de infeciologia
Centro de vacinaçao contra Raiva

  • +351 217 805000 ext 91490
  • +351 962 12 78 64
  • +351 968 60 00 60

Sources :
Vidal – Comment réagir en cas de morsure
OMS – Rabies

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