When work bites


If you will ever be around dogs, you must be aware that dog bites can and will happen.

Dental cleaning gone awry

A military working dog was under anesthesia for a routine dental cleaning. As the technician finished cleaning the teeth on the left side of the dog’s mouth, it was time to roll the dog over to clean the other side of the mouth.

Suddenly, the veterinarian entered the room. Confidently and briskly, she detached the anesthesia machine from the endotracheal tube seconds before rolling the dog over. The movement allowed fresh oxygen to infiltrate the dog’s lungs, reviving him from his unconscious state. As the dog became aware of the endotracheal tube inside his mouth, he began to gag.

The technician quickly grabbed the dangling breathing tube in an attempt to secure it to the end of the endotracheal tube. In so doing, the technician’s thumb was injured from the dog’s gag reflex that forced the dog to bite down.

Getting acquainted with unknown dogs

While cleaning a yard, a professional pooper scooper decided to introduce himself to some unknown dogs. Every week, these dogs would bark hysterically when they noticed him in their yard. The scooper thought, “If I can get to know them, they will stop this barking.”

The scooper stood beside the dogs’ kennel. Calmly extending his hand toward the wire cage, the scooper waited patiently so the dogs would sniff him.

The dogs’ aggression soared higher because they perceived the scoopers actions as threatening. One of the dogs snapped his jaws toward the side of the cage. The scooper withdrew his hand and discovered, he had been bitten by the dog.

Bitten for no apparent reason

While scooping a yard, the pooper scooper was startled when the pet owner released her dogs into the yard. As the two Jack Russell terriers swarmed around him, one went after a ball, while the other approached the scooper from behind and bit him on the calf muscle.

The home owner apologized sincerely for the incident.

The problem with dog bites

The chief concern is rabies transmission. Rabies is a disease of the brain and central nervous system. Without treatment, it is certain death for anyone who becomes infected. Infection occurs when the virus passes through the saliva of a rabid animal into an open wound or mucous membranes in the eyes or mouth. The path of infection is usually through a bite wound.

Prevention is key

The best way to avoid a dog bite is to learn dog bite prevention. Because children under 15 years old are the usual victims of dog bites, it’s imperative to teach children how to avoid being bitten by a dog.

When meeting new dogs, always be respectful and ask the owner first before attempting to pet the dog.

If you spot a stray dog while walking down the street, avoid it at all costs. If avoidance isn’t possible, stop, stand still, and pretend to be a tree. Make clenched fists to prevent your fingers from being bitten and do not make direct eye contact with the dog. If the dog approaches you to sniff your hands, remain calm and don’t move. Allow the dog to sniff you and eventually it will lose interest and continue on its way.

If the encounter takes a turn for the worse and you find yourself knocked to the ground by a vicious dog, curl up into a ball and pretend to be a rock. Bring your knees in toward your stomach for protection, and interlace your fingers around the back of your neck to protect your neck. Hold this position until the dog leaves.


What to do if you are bitten by a dog

If you or your child is bitten by a dog, you should:

  • Determine the severity of the wound
  • Encourage the owner to take actions to prevent future bites
  • Seek medical attention

When in doubt, go to the ER. When you go for help, you may be asked to complete a bite report. The bite report will be used by the Health Department to place the animal on a 10-day bite quarantine as a rabies suspect.

Dr. Kristy Conn wrote, “Most dog bites occur while interacting with familiar dogs thus the need to educate people and their children on how to avoid dog bites. It is important to understand that any dog has the capacity to bite and that by understanding the common reasons why dogs bite it is possible to prevent them.”

Dogs are animals first so it pays to always be aware of the animal state. Remember to stay vigilant whenever you are around dogs.


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