Animal bites and scratches that break the skin can sometimes cause infection. Some bites need to be closed with stitches while others heal on their own.
Rarely, animal bites (particularly from wild animals) can lead to rabies, a life-threatening disease. Bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes transmit most cases of rabies.
When seeking treatment, have the following information on hand:
Many animal bites can be prevented. Always keep a close eye on young kids around animals, even pets. Teach kids not to tease pets, to handle them gently, and to stay away from wild or stray animals.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: April 2014
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.