Hospital admissions for dog bites on the rise

Watch out for those cranky patients—bite incidents have increased since 1993.
Dec 22, 2010
By staff

You deal with the risk of dog bites every day. And now, new data shows that hospital admissions for dog bites are on the rise. The number of people admitted to the hospital because of dog bites increased by 86 percent—from 5,100 to 9,500 hospital stays—between 1993 and 2008, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. On average, 866 people visited the emergency room and 26 people were admitted to the hospital each day for treatment of dog bites in 2008. Data from the federal agency also found that in 2008:

Seniors and young children were most likely to be hospitalized for a dog bite.
> Compared with urban residents, people in rural areas made four times as many emergency department visits for dog bites. Rural residents also had three times as many hospital admissions.
> About 43 percent of people hospitalized required treatment for skin and underlying tissue infection; 22 percent had wounds of the legs or arms; 10.5 percent had wounds of the head, neck, and torso; and the remaining patients had problems ranging from bone fracture to blood poisoning.
> More than half (58 percent) of all people who were hospitalized required a procedure such as wound debridement, sutures, and skin grafts.
> Treating patients admitted for dog bites cost hospitals an average of $18,200 per patient and $54 million overall.

See the related links below for tips on preventing dog bites, as well as a guide to the most common breeds that bite veterinarians.