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Decline in hospitalisations due to dog bite injuries in Catalonia, 1997–2008. An effect of government regulation?
  1. Joan R Villalbí1,2,
  2. Montse Cleries3,
  3. Susana Bouis1,
  4. Víctor Peracho1,
  5. Julia Duran1,
  6. Conrad Casas1,2
  1. 1Agència de Salut Pública de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2CIBER ESP, Spain
  3. 3Divisió de Gestió de Registres d'Activitat, Servei Català de la Salut, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Joan R Villalbí, Agència de Salut Pública de Barcelona, Pl Lesseps 1, 08023 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain; jrvillal{at}


Objective To analyse population-based data on hospitalisation caused by dog bite injuries after changes in legal regulations on dog ownership, including breed-specific regulations.

Design Descriptive study.

Setting Hospitals in Catalonia (Spain), 1997–2008.

Subjects Persons hospitalised with injuries caused by dog bites.

Results There has been a significant decline in hospitalisation caused by injuries from dog bites from 1.80/100 000 in 1997–9 to 1.11/100 000 in 2006–8, after the enactment of stricter regulations on dog ownership in 1999 and 2002. The magnitude of this change is significant (−38%), and has been greatest in less urban settings.

Conclusions Government regulations were associated with a sizable decrease in injuries caused by dog bites in Catalonia. More evaluative studies in this field may provide criteria to focus future regulations and other preventive interventions.

  • Injury
  • dog bites
  • hospitalisation
  • epidemiology
  • government regulation
  • evaluation
  • government
  • health services
  • legislation

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  • Funding Funded by in-house resources, and partial support from the CIBER ESP.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.