Out of every injury to the hand or arms we treat at our Oakland County practice, animal bites are one of the most common. This is hardly surprising, as the likelihood of a person being bit by a domestic animal at some point in their life is estimated to be approximately 50%. Though typically the result of an overly playful or aggressive pet, animal bites can also result from wildlife. And, in rare cases, human bites can also cause injury to the hand.
Because bites introduce dangerous bacteria from the animal’s mouth directly into the wound, the risk of dangerous infection and long term complications is great. For this reason, bite injuries to the hand should be treated as soon as possible by a specialist like board certified Oakland County hand surgeon Dr. Rehman.
Dog Bite Injury of the Hand
Statistically speaking, when a person incurs a bite injury of the hand, man’s best friend is most likely to blame. But while 80-90% of domestic pet bites are from dogs, only 10-50% of all dog bite injuries are reported to medical professionals.
Still, in the United States alone, roughly 333,680 dog bite injuries are treated every year by emergency departments. And due to the serious nature of the injury’s location, if you have suffered a dog bite injury to the hand, it is crucial that you add yourself to that number.
Cat Bite Injury of the Hand
While a bite injury of the hand is statistically more likely to be from a dog, cat bites can often be more dangerous. This is due to the increased risk of infection faced by puncture wounds caused by cats’ sharp, pointed teeth. While a cat bite injury of the hand might not look too serious at first glance, they can allow for bacteria to be injected into the tissue of the patient’s hand. When left untreated, 30-50% of every cat bite injury to the hand will progress to an infectious emergency.
Reverse Bite Injury of the Hand
Also known as a closed fist injury or a “fight bite,” a reverse bite injury of the hand results from punching someone in the face and inadvertently cutting their metacarpophalangeal (MPC) joint on the teeth of their opponent. A reverse bite injury of the hand can result in oral bacteria penetrating multiple layers of the hand’s tissue, giving way to significant risk of infection.
While the unimpressive size of most wounds lead to reverse bite injury of the hand being underestimated, they can nonetheless have serious consequences. A reverse bite injury of the hand can cause laceration to the patient’s extensor tendon. And when left untreated, a reverse bite injury of the hand can quickly become infected, itself leading to severe medical complications.
Treating Bite Injuries of the Hand
Regardless its cause, a bite injury of the hand of any kind puts the patient at risk for serious conditions including osteoarthritis, septic arthritis, and flexor tenosynovitis. To avoid pitfalls like these, anyone who has sustained a bite injury of the hand should waste no time contacting a professional like board certified Oakland County hand expert Dr. Rehman.
The pathogen most frequently isolated from an animal bite injury of the hand is called Pasteurella, which must be covered by an antibiotic, such as amoxicillin-clavulanate.
After experiencing an animal bite injury of the hand, patients should also receive immunization for tetanus. And if the animal responsible has an unknown vaccination status, or if the animal is not available to be observed, patients should also be given rabies immunization.
Animal & Dog Bite Injury of the Hand Doctor – Oakland County
If you suffered a bite injury it is extremely important to have your hand examined and treated by a board certified hand surgeon like Dr. Rehman as soon as possible. She will rapidly put in place a treatment plan to not only relieve symptoms, but to thoroughly clean and sterilize the wound on your fingers or hand.
Rapid intervention is required to prevent infection, preserve the function of the hand, and avoid long term complications such as septic arthritis or osteoarthritis. Do not delay. Call Oakland County hand surgeon Dr. Rehman today.