Bites, Animal

[Clin Infect Dis 2014;59:e10-52]


- If animal unknown or escaped, or unprovoked attack, contact local Public Health or local Medical Officer of Health re: risk/management of rabies.

- Ensure tetanus status up to date.

- Irrigation and debridement necessary.

- Primary closure of wound(s) NOT recommended if:

  • puncture wounds

  • ≥ 12 hours post injury.

NB: If primary closure is required for face wounds, the wound must be copiously irrigated and prophylactic antibiotics given.

- Cloxacillin/cephalexin/cefazolin, clindamycin, and erythromycin NOT effective against Pasteurella spp or Eikenella spp.

- Pus/deep wound cultures recommended in established infections.

- For animal exposures below, consider also:

  • reptiles – Salmonella spp, Aeromonas spp

  • marine animals - Vibrio spp

  • rodents, rabbits – Francisella tularensis

    • rats – Streptobacillus moniliformis (rat bite fever)

Infectious Diseases consult recommended.