Background Every year in France, dog bites result in several thousand admissions in emergency departments and numerous hospitalizations. The purpose of this survey was to identify severity factors and sequelae due to dog bites.
Methods An epidemiological study about the severity of 485 dog bites was carried out in eight hospital emergency departments between 2009 and 2010; a study investigating sequelae 16 months after the bite was conducted among 298 of the 485 patients. Patients and dogs characteristics were collected by caregivers and veterinarians, 16-month sequelae were asked to patients by questionnaire. Multivariate regression analyses were conducted to explore severity and sequelae risk factors.
Results In children, bites were more frequent in the head and neck, but lesions were more severe in adults. The bites were more numerous and more serious when the victim knew the biting dog. No association was found between the severity of the bite and the type of biting dog. Almost half of respondents (47%) reported sequelae; most of them were aesthetic (91%). There were more sequelae when the bite was located at the head or inferior limbs; the sequelae were more frequent among women, when the weight of the biting dog was higher, and when the initial severity of the bite was higher. The link between the victim and the dog, the sex of the dog, the type of aggression, as well as the age of the victim, had no impact on the occurrence of sequelae. One patient out of seven was still having pain 16 months after the bite, women more often than men.
Conclusions Numerous patients still suffer 16 months after a dog bite, articles providing this type of results were not found in the literature. Dissemination of these results among professionals (physicians and veterinarians) and the general public should contribute to make dog owners aware of the risk of bite and the means to avoid them.
- Dog bites
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