What causes animal bites?

Updated: Sep 18, 2018
  • Author: Alisha Perkins Garth, MD; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Bite wounds from cats and dogs can occur without provocation, but provoked bites, such as disturbing animals while they are eating, are more common. Older animals often are less tolerant of disturbances, especially by children. Most dog bites involve a dog that belongs to the family or friend of the victim and approximately half occur on the pet owner's property. [11]

Unprovoked bites by wild or sick-appearing animals (most notably by dogs, cats, raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats) further raise underlying concerns about likelihood of rabies exposure.

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