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Animal bites

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Updated 2023 AAFP guidelines for the management of dog and cat bites.

Guidelines

Key sources

The following summarized guidelines for the evaluation and management of animal bites are prepared by our editorial team based on guidelines from the Surgical Infection Society Europe (SIS-E/GAIS/WSES/WSIS/AAST 2024), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP 2023,2014), the Surgical Infection Society Europe (SIS-E/WSES 2018), the Korean Society of Infectious Diseases (KSID/KDA/KOA/KSC 2017), and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA ...
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Diagnostic investigations

Blood and wound cultures: as per KDA/KOA/KSC/KSID 2017 guidelines, consider obtaining blood culture, aspiration culture, or punch biopsy in patients with SSTI from an animal bite.
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Medical management

Antibiotic prophylaxis: as per AAST/GAIS/SIS-E/WSES/WSIS 2024 guidelines, do not administer routine antibiotic prophylaxis in patients with mammalian bites. Consider administering it on a case-by-case basis.
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More topics in this section

  • Antibiotic therapy

  • Post-exposure rabies prophylaxis

  • Post-exposure tetanus prophylaxis

Surgical interventions

Wound care: as per AAST/GAIS/SIS-E/WSES/WSIS 2024 guidelines, perform accurate source control by cleaning, irrigating, and disinfecting wounds in all skin and soft tissue injuries, including all mammalian bites.
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Preventative measures

Pre-exposure rabies prophylaxis: as per AAFP 2014 guidelines, consider administering pre-exposure rabies prophylaxis in persons at higher risk of rabies exposure and for international travelers to at-risk areas unlikely to get post-exposure prophylaxis within 24 hours of possible rabies exposure.
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