Your child’s exam shows he or she was bitten by an animal.  The most common bites are from cats and dogs, but any animal can bite.  Animal bites cause fewer infections than human bites.  However, all bites need to be watched closely for infection.




1.      Have your child rest and elevate the injured area until the swelling and pain are better.

2.      Wash the area with antibacterial soap twice each day.  After cleaning, apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment (Neosporin, Polysporin) over the wound.

3.      Some bites require treatment with an antibiotic.  Your child’s doctor will let you know if this is necessary.

4.      A tetanus shot may be given while in the emergency department.  Show this to your regular doctor to update your child’s records.


Call your child’s doctor or return to the Emergency Department if:


1.      Increased pain or redness forms around the bite.

2.      Discharge or pus comes out from the bite.

3.      Your child has increased swelling or red streaks going up or down the arm or leg.

4.      Your child develops an unexplained fever.

5.      Your child has difficulty moving the joints near the bite wound.

6.      You have any other questions or concerns.