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Dog Bite Treatments continued...

Your doctor will examine the injury to see whether the bite was deep enough to damage muscles, tendons, nerves, or bones. Then the doctor will thoroughly clean the bite wound to remove any dirt or bacteria, and may also remove dead tissues from the wound.

Sometimes, sutures are used to close a dog bite wound; however, this practice is controversial. Although suturing the injury can reduce scarring, it also can increase the risk of infection. Whether the injury is closed may depend on its location. For example, dog bites on the face may be sutured to prevent visible scars. Very deep wounds that cause a great deal of damage may require plastic surgery. 

Your doctor will also take measures to prevent infection. It's rare for dogs in the U.S. to have rabies, but if the dog's health status is unknown, or the dog tests positive for rabies, you will need to get a rabies vaccine. The doctor will also make sure that you are up to date on your tetanus shot.

You may need to take antibiotics for seven to 14 days to prevent or treat an infection. The doctor may ask you to come back in one to three days to have the injury rechecked.

If you did not know the dog that bit you, make sure to report the bite to your local animal control office or police.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on September 14, 2014
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