Ask the Vet | Antibiotics used for Dog Bites in Humans

Dog bites can often result in infections and using antibiotics can prevent these infections in many cases. Topical over the counter antibiotics can be applied immediately after cleaning the dog bite wound. Oral antibiotics may be recommended if the bite wound is deep or if there is an infection present.

Dog Bite First Aid
The dog saliva is filled with numerous bacteria and is transferred on the skin when the dog bites you. In addition, your skin may also contain a number of bacteria. For this reason, it is important to clean the wound and apply some antibiotic cream to kill the bacteria in the bite area.
The bite wound should be cleaned with an antibacterial soap. Keep the bite wound under running water for 3-5 minutes, as this will clean the area from the remaining bacteria from the dog’s saliva.
Pat the wound dry with a clean towel and apply some antibiotic cream or powder on the skin.
However, if the bite is severe and it is bleeding, the best course of action is to go immediately to the doctor, as stitches may be needed.

Antibiotics for Dog Bites
Antibiotics are essential for dog bites, as these will prevent the spread of bacteria from the dog’s saliva and also prevent an infection.
If applied on the wound immediately after cleaning the bite, the topical antibiotics can dramatically reduce your chances of getting infected.
Topical antibiotics should be applied 2 or 3 times per day up to 5 days after the dog bite.
If the wound is infected, there will be symptoms such as:
• Redness
• Swelling
• A film of pus
• Pain when touching the area
• Fever
• A discharge from the wound

Types of Antibiotics
The antibiotics recommended for dog bites are typically topical creams, but if the bite is deep, oral antibiotics will also be recommended.
The topical creams may contain a low concentration of antibiotics.
The oral antibiotics may be of various types, depending on the severity of the bite:
• A combination of Amoxicillin/Clavulanic Acid is the most frequently prescribed oral antibiotic for dog bites or other types of infections. The treatment should be applied for 7 to 14 days, as recommended by the doctor and the meds shouldn’t be discontinued without consulting the doctor first, as the body can easily develop resistance to the compounds of the antibiotics and these won’t be effective in the future.
• Penicillin can also be prescribed for dog bites to prevent or treat an infection. Penicillin is a strong antibiotic and may be replaced with ampicillin
• Doxyciline or clindamycin
• Erythromycin can also be prescribed, especially if you are allergic to penicillin or amoxicillin
The length of the treatment will be determined by the doctor. Typically, to prevent an infection, a dose for 7 days is enough, but if the infection is already present, a 2-week dose will be recommended.

Hope this helps
Till next week
Dr Ruan

Ask the Vet:
Royal Veterinary Centre
Tel: +853 28501099, +853 28523678
Fax: +853 28508001

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