Animal bites and the associated risks

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Note that the most important issue is to prevent a bite by not provoking the animal to bite and not allowing animals that are known to already have bitten despite not having been provoked into the close proximity of people.

If despite all precautionary measures a bite should still happen, probably the majority of bites should be treatable in a safe way provided they are treated immediately after the bite and thoroughly enough. However, in some few cases, it might not be enough to just apply a disinfectant after having been bitten because the bite is too deep or the germs having been transmitted are too dangerous and in such a case, it might be necessary to seek immediate medical care (however, it might be quite difficult to assess immediately after the bite if such a relatively rare case has indeed happened). Furthermore, this section covers only the topic of bites by small (domesticated) mammalian pets which means that bites by wild animals or bites by pets that are larger than a rat are still really problematic and a rat might already be a borderline case in terms of size, I am not sure about that.

It is important that a bite by a small (domesticated) pet (animal) is treated within a sufficiently short time frame immediately after the bite in a thorough enough way by ensuring that the disinfectant reaches all parts of the bite cavity, including the deepest parts of the bite cavity.

It is also important to previously inform everybody about thorough first aid procedures in case of a bite by a small animal and also frequently exercise on a sample exercise piece how to disinfect a bite and especially a relatively deep bite properly. The longer you wait and the more you hesitate to deeply enough (instead of superficially) disinfect a bite cavity, the more grave the consequences can become after several hours and days. The more quickly and the more deeply a bite cavity is disinfected (for example with a conventional wound disinfectant iodine solution that can be obtained in many pharmacies), the lower the risk is for a subsequent (and potentially serious and expanding) infection. Ensure that you constantly have at least two identical appropriate disinfectant solutions in the house and if possible, ensure also that you additionally have disinfecting cloths in order to bandage the bite injury afterwards still with disinfectant on it. The best and actually only viable way of disinfecting any bite wound and especially any deeper bite wound (that might happen in case of a rat bite) is to immerge/submerge your finger into an undiluted or still concentrated enough iodine solution while also - and this is the most important point - try to open the wound after the bite as much as possible by "tearing" the wound open and letting the disinfectant in and possibly also inserting a disinfected stump medical object like maybe a needle (I don't know the word) in order to guarantee that wherever the bite was, there is enough disinfectant for sufficient time. In case another body part than the finger has been affected by a bite, immersion might not be possible and opening the wound and possibly inserting additional disinfectant might be necessary. It is very important to know that such bites contain a lot of bacteria from the teeth and mouth of the animal and maybe other germs that are harmful if they directly reach the blood which is the case after a bite. Therefore, such bites are not comparable to the more harmless cuts or bruises that one might get/contract during everyday activities. Only prompt and deeply enough disinfection can prevent further problems.

A special case are somehow superficial bites that do not fully penetrate the skin but where still some germs might get under the skin near the bloodstream (but not necessarily directly into the bloodstream). I have experienced such a case once or twice in case of one of my mice and it was astonishing that after this very small and somehow hesitant bite no bite cavity at all had been visible from outside on the skin but I still had a somewhat unhealthy and slightly burning sensation underneath the skin for several days. In such a case, it might also have been relatively difficult to disinfect the wound but I am not sure about that, maybe I should have immersed the affected finger too for at least several minutes in a liquid of iodine disinfectant despite not being able to see anything from the outside. Therefore, it might be recommendable to in any case immerse or disinfect any affected skin part with iodine even if no traces of the bite are visible from the outside.

If you introduce wild animals (mice / rats) that might be the wildly living ancestors of your pet animals, check what it might mean in terms of illnesses, Probably it is very risky both for a human and also for the pet animal (mice / rats). Mixing wild and domesticated animals is probably generally not recommendable unless you have the necessary extensive knowledge.

I wrote "mammalian" in the first sentence since there are other small animals like corals, jellyfishes, spiders, scorpions, insects, centipedes, lizards, snakes, fish, amphibians, some (sometimes not easily distinguishable/identifiable) particular octopus species, and other less known toxic species that are significantly or very toxic and that should not be touched or approached too closely in wild nature let alone being kept in the household especially when also young children are living in the same household. So this kind of toxicity is not the issue here, but the harmful germs that are found in the saliva of a not particularly toxic mammalian animal and after a bite of a small mammal, the germs can develop a toxic effect by reproducing in the bloodstream and the human immune system not being able to stop the reproduction quickly enough because the germs are uncommon otherwise when just having a cut.

Despite the above precautionary measures, it might be necessary to additionally test all or some individual animals for particular illnesses that can be transmitted over a bite.

Dog bites are also especially risky and it is an issue that every adult keeping a dog nearby has to prevent by providing a correct developmental environment for the dog and by avoiding risky dog breeds especially if the adult human does not have the necessary knowledge how to handle the additional risk in case of a risky dog breed.

Particularly dangerous are also some individual macaques with a healthy appearance/behavior that are infected with Herpes B which is invisible from the outside in case of macaques and can only be blood tested. So don't keep any monkey (and especially a macaque) without checking first for any transmittable illnesses including Herpes B. From what I have read on the Internet, it is actually generally risky and problematic to keep a monkey as a pet or "domesticated animal" in a household, but that would be another topic.