It’s not always a vicious dog that can cause injury. Though the household canine is typically playful, experts say many lifetime scars can be attributed to accidental dog bites.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, “Every 40 seconds, someone seeks medical care because of a dog bite.”
National Dog Bite Prevention Week is in mid-May.
As part of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, Dr. Michael Hoops of the Cleveland Plastic Surgery Clinic is hoping to raise awareness of the dangers of dog attacks.
Hoops said 4.7 million Americans are bitten each year by dogs, and numerous reports of dog bite incidents are reported to local law and animal control agencies every day.
In one such incident, a local child was reportedly bitten, most likely by accident, while he was playing outside with neighborhood friends and a canine.
Brent Keaton was preparing to enter the seventh grade the next day. He was playing with the neighbor’s dog and its toy when he was bitten in the face.
Brent’s mother Kristi Muhonen recalled the afternoon of the incident that led to Brent having special care by Hoops and his office.
“I called Dr. Hoops and he immediately began care for Brent. There were 5 to 6 lacerations which required approximately 26 stitches,” she explained.
“Dr. Hoops’ initial treatment and follow-up resulted in minimal scarring,” Muhonen said.
“Our suggestion is simple. Use caution around any pet. Accidents can happen,” she added.
Of the estimated 80,000 people bitten each week, 50 percent of the victims are children.
The ASPS recommends that if attacked or bitten by a dog, contact a physician immediately. If needed, a plastic surgeon will be notified by emergency room physicians.
According to the American Board of Plastic Surgery, board certified surgeons can offer the best recovery methods in preserving and rearranging affected tissue all over the body, ensuring proper wound healing for less conspicuous scarring.
Summertime is just around the corner and canines, as well as people, especially children, will be out and about in their respective communities and public areas.
Below are a few safety tips:
- Dog owners should follow basic steps to avoid dog bites.
- Don’t play aggressive games with dogs.
- Children should never approach unfamiliar dogs.
- Never run from a dog or scream at it.
- Children should never play with a dog unsupervised and should always tell an adult if a stray dog is noticed acting strangely.
- Never approach a dog while it is eating.