Date: 10 Oct 2013

Maxillofacial Injuries Due to Animal Bites

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Animal bites are a significant public health problem, with the majority of bites coming from dogs, cats and humans. These may present as punctures, abrasions, tears, or avulsions. The force and relative bluntness of the teeth also increases the possibility of a crush injury with devitalized tissue .The clinical presentation and appropriate treatment of infected bite wounds vary according to the animal and causative organisms. These wounds have always been considered complex injuries contaminated with a unique polymicrobial inoculum.


This article reviews animal bite wound incidence, bacteriology, risk factors for complications, evaluation components, recommended treatment and prevention based on advanced PUBMED search of the English language literature from the years 1970 to present.


As the bite wounds are frequently located on the face, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon needs to be familiar with the treatment of animal bites, pitfalls in management and to educate patients on ways to avoid future bite injuries. The management of animal bites is an evidence poor area and most recommendations are based on small case series, microbiological data and expert opinion. The main controversies include whether wounds should or should not undergo primary closure and the use of prophylactic antimicrobials.