What Should I Do If I Get Bitten by a Stray Animal?

July 23, 2021

What Should I Do If I Get Bitten by a Stray Animal?

Whether it’s from a stray cat, dog or some other animal, like a squirrel, bites can happen to anyone! Getting bitten is definitely painful and can be scary, so what should you do if you do experience a bite from an unfamiliar animal?

Our AFC Urgent Care Mooresville team has some answers, so keep reading!

What Should I Do if I’ve Been Bitten?

No matter the type of animal, it’s important to tend to the bite wound right away to do your best in reducing the risk of bacterial infection. You also should assess the wound to determine the severity.

If the animal that you’ve been bitten by is unfamiliar and you aren’t sure if they’ve been vaccinated for rabies, visit our AFC center right away to get necessary medical treatment. Your doctor will likely administer the rabies vaccine as a safety measure. Before you head to see the doctor, though, perform these first-aid steps on the wound.

First-Aid Steps

  • Wash the bite area with soap and water. If the bite is bleeding, put pressure on it using sterile gauze or a clean cloth.
  • If the bleeding has stopped, put antibiotic ointment on the area.
  • Cover the area with a bandage or sterile gauze.
  • If you have pain, take acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

How Likely Is Infection After a Cat Bite?

Cat bites are actually the type of bite that is most likely to get infected. According to recent studies, infection occurs in about 50% of cat bites.

If left untreated, cat bite infections can spread to other parts of the body, causing a condition called septicemia (blood poisoning), which requires hospitalization. In rare cases, these infections can be fatal. Bacteria infection can happen from any type of animal bite, though, so it’s important to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of infection, which we’ve listed below.

Common Signs of Infection

  • Localized redness around your wound
  • Warmth around the bite area
  • Red streaks leading away from the bite
  • A fever
  • Pus
  • Swelling
  • Pain

Have you been bitten by a stray animal and don’t know what to do? Don’t hesitate to visit our AFC Urgent Care Mooresville center!

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