How should animal bites be treated to prevent infection?

Updated: Jun 14, 2019
  • Author: Thomas E Herchline, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Pasteurella species are the most commonly found organisms in cat- and dog-bite wounds; however, on average, 5 different aerobic and anaerobic bacteria are isolated from such wounds (eg, S aureus, Bacteroides tectum, Fusobacterium, Capnocytophaga, or Porphyromonas). [2]

The severity and depth of the wound, as well as the time since the bite occurred, help clinicians determine antimicrobial management, such as route of administration (eg, IV, PO). In non–penicillin-allergic patients, administer amoxicillin-clavulanate PO or ampicillin-sulbactam IV or ertapenem IV. [2] Other agents are not recommended because of either poor activity against P multocida (eg, dicloxacillin, cephalexin, erythromycin, clindamycin) or inadequate anaerobic coverage (eg, cefuroxime, cefotaxime, ceftriaxone).

Patients with mild penicillin allergies may receive cefoxitin IV or carbapenem agents IV. Individuals with severe penicillin hypersensitivity may receive doxycycline, TMP-SMZ, or a fluoroquinolone plus clindamycin, either PO or IV. [2]

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