How common are animal bites in emergency medicine?

Updated: Sep 18, 2018
  • Author: Alisha Perkins Garth, MD; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Answer

The precise number of bite wounds in the United States and worldwide is difficult to determine because many animal bites are never reported. In 2016, there were approximately 60 million pet dogs and 47 million pet cats in the United States. [1] Reports estimate 4.5 million dog bites per year and approximately 800,000 receive medical attention. [2] In 2008, this resulted in approximately 316,000 emergency department (ED) visits. [3] Substantially more dog bites occur than cat bites. These two species account for the majority of (nonhuman) mammalian bite wounds encountered in the ED.


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