Management of Animal Bites: A Global Perspective

Saleh Abdel-Kader, Ihab M. Abbas, Fikri M. Abu-Zidan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The relationship between for humans, animals, and environment is balanced since human existence. Animal bites humans is a major neglected global health problem. Dog and cat bites are most common in USA and Europe, snake bites in east Asia, and crocodile and camel bites in Africa. We aim to lay the principles of managing these animal bites. Bites located on the hands, arms, and legs comprise 70–80% of animal bites. The head and neck are involved in 10–30%. The occurrence of wound infection depends on the nature and location of the wound, the patient’s immunity, and the type of attacking animal. Principles of managing animal bites include addressing immediate life-threatening injuries; taking a detailed history of the animal bite; evaluating tetanus and rabies risk; administering antibiotics and antivenom (when needed); wound debridement and revision; addressing the risk of necrotizing fasciitis and compartment syndrome, and finally delayed closure/skin graft and fracture management when the wound becomes clean. Using the Haddon matrix is very useful for injury prevention. It includes preventing the animal bite before it occurs, reducing its impact if it occurs, and treating it properly after it occurs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTextbook of Emergency General Surgery
Subtitle of host publicationTraumatic and Non-traumatic Surgical Emergencies
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9783031225994
ISBN (Print)9783031225987
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2023


  • Animal
  • Bites
  • Camel
  • Cat
  • Crocodile
  • Dog
  • Management
  • Prevention
  • Snake
  • Wound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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