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bed in clinic

ANIMAL BITES

Animal Bites: When to Go to Urgent Care

Animal bites are a relatively common type of wound. An estimated 1 to 2 million animal bites occur annually, according to the Wilderness and Environmental Journal. Of those, 80 percent are dog bites, 5 to 10 percent are cat bites, and 2 to 3 percent are rodent bites.

You may not think a bite is dangerous if the wound is small. However, if the skin has been broken, even a minor injury can become infected and potentially life-threatening.

What Causes Animal Bites to Become Infected?

Animals carry many different types of viruses and bacteria in their mouth, making bite wounds easily susceptible to infection. The bacteria is found within the saliva of the animal that bit you. When an animal bites you, bacteria is transferred through the saliva. If the skin has been punctured, then that virus or bacteria can enter the bloodstream, resulting in an infection.

At Home Care

Immediately after an animal bite, be sure to thoroughly clean the wound with soap and warm water. Then, apply an antibacterial or antiseptic solution. Doing this can help prevent infection from setting in the wound.

Disease Spread to Humans from Animals Wounds

Disease can be spread from an animal to a human by a bite or a scratch. Two diseases to watch out for if you have an animal wound are rabies and cat scratch fever.

Rabies can be spread by dogs, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. Dog bites are one of the most common animal wounds. Regularly vaccinating your dog can help prevent the spread of rabies. However, you should still be cautious as this disease poses a serious health threat and can be fatal if left untreated. Symptoms can start with fever, headache, and muscle weakness. As the disease progresses, one can also experience severe delusions, confusion, anxiety and even complete paralysis

Cat scratch fever is a disease spread from feline to human. When the cat bites or scratches deep enough to break the skin, the wound can become infected. Cat scratch fever can also transfer by letting a cat lick an open wound. Within two weeks or so, the area can become swollen and produce fluid buildup or pus. Further symptoms include fever, headache, poor appetite and exhaustion.

It is imperative to seek medical help if you have been bitten by an unvaccinated or vaccinated animal.

When to Get Treatment and What to Expect

The first thing our medical professionals will ask you is what exactly happened. It’s essential to provide details of what kind of animal bit you. If the animal bite is from a pet, let us know if they are vaccinated against rabies. If possible, bring vaccination records with you. We will then determine the best course of treatment. The wound will need to be cleaned and dressed properly. If the animal bite is large enough, it may require stitches. In addition, we may prescribe antibiotics to help reduce the possibility of future infection. If you are not up to date on your tetanus vaccine, you may also receive a tetanus shot.

If any of the following symptoms are present, you should come in for treatment:

  • General feeling of discomfort

  • Decrease in appetite

  • Fever

  • Redness or inflammation

  • Fluid or pus

  • Swollen glands

  • Swelling or tenderness around the wound site

Pediatric Concerns

When your child receives a bite from an animal, it can be scary. The important thing is to stay calm, clean the wound, and apply pressure to the injury to stop the bleeding. However, if the damage is severe or life-threatening, call 911 immediately or take the child to the nearest emergency room without delay.

If your child experiences the above symptoms, bring them to Bayside Urgent Care Center for treatment.

What To Bring When You Visit

You should know your family medical history and give this information to the doctor and medical staff. Also, be ready to tell us about any medications you take (including vitamins and supplements). Let us know of any past illnesses and surgical history. Lastly, please provide your primary care doctor’s phone number and address if we need to transfer records.

Does Bayside Urgent Care Accept Insurance?

Yes. We accept Medicare and most major insurance carriers. If you don’t have insurance or prefer to pay out-of-pocket, that is no problem. Our services are reasonably priced and much less expensive than an ER visit.

Attacked by an Animal? Bayside Urgent Care Can Help You with Your Animal Bites!

Our center is located in Clearwater, Florida, conveniently situated to Largo, Belleair, Dunedin, Indian Rocks Beach, and Tampa. If you have an animal bite and have any questions about the appropriate treatment, visit our office or call (727) 441 - 5044.

Open 7 days a week ● No Appointment Needed ● Online Registration

Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 8 pm, Saturday - Sunday 9 am to 6 pm

*Urgent care is not a substitute for emergency care. Always head to the nearest emergency room or call 911 if you are experiencing very serious or life-threatening problems. Read What is Urgent Care for more information.

Find Us

Bayside Urgent Care Center

1001 S Fort Harrison Avenue, Suite 101

Clearwater, FL 33756

Phone. 727-441-5044

Fax. 727-441-5008

Hours 

Monday - Friday: 8am - 8pm
Saturday and Sunday: 9am - 6pm