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Thomas John Zaydon MD FACS

Dog Bites

Dog Bite Injuries – Introduction

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started in the early months of 2020, more and more people have been adopting dogs to cope with social isolation. Unfortunately, adopting dogs out of the kennel and with no idea of their history might do you more harm than good.

Increase in dog ownership during COVID-19 pandemic

One of the health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection is physical distancing. But because of the year-long perceived social isolation, this came with a significant psychological consequence.

According to research, the sudden change in lifestyle, job loss and financial problems, feeling of loneliness, and grief over the loss of a loved one during the pandemic have a negative effect on a person’s mental health.

It is no wonder why people may adopt a new companion, known as “man’s best friend,” to help them cope with all these stressors. Having a pet dog has many benefits, such as:

  • decreased anxiety
  • reduced feelings of sadness
  • improved happiness score

A surge in the number of dog bites

Research has shown that the number of dog bite incidence has doubled since the start of the pandemic. The incidence is higher in children ages 5-9 years old. This can be attributed to many factors such as:

  • greater dog stress due to increased human presence and household stress
  • unsupervised children around dogs due to conflicting home and work-from-home responsibilities of parents

Our plastic surgeon for scars in Miami has seen these incidents first-hand. In February, our clinic saw four dog bite cases in a single week. All patients suffered severe deformity and disfigurement from dogs they just adopted.

Dog bite injuries in numbers

There are approximately 4.5 million dog bite victims in the USA per year. Around 750,000 of these require medical attention.

Some dog bites can even be fatal. Between 2005-2017 there were 433 deaths resulting from dog bites in the USA. Of course, the chances of being bitten by a dog increase in professions that require frequent exposure to dogs, such as postal workers. In 2014, a total of 5,767 UPS postal workers were attacked by dogs. The most number of bites occurred in Los Angeles (74), while Miami was in 15th place with 25 bites.

What are the negative effects of dog bites?

Besides the obvious medical injuries that occurred during dog bites, they also have other negative effects in terms of mental health and the cost to the economy. Dog bite losses are in excess of $1 billion per year. Plus, there are often psychosocial consequences of dog bites. There are many studies documenting the psychological effects of dog bites in children and adults.

What are the types of dog bite injury?

According to the typology created by Dr. Ian Dunbar, there are 6 types of a dog bite:

  • Obnoxious or aggressive behavior but no skin-contact by teeth
    • Skin-contact by teeth but no skin-puncture. This may be skin nicks (less than one-tenth of an inch deep) and slight bleeding caused by forward or lateral movement of teeth against the skin, but no vertical punctures.
    • One to four punctures from a single bite with no puncture deeper than half the length of the dog’s canine teeth. This can be lacerations in a single direction, caused by the victim pulling the hand away, the owner pulling the dog away, or gravity (the little dog jumps, bites, and drops to the floor).
    • One to four punctures from a single bite with at least one puncture deeper than half the length of the dog’s canine teeth. This may also have deep bruising around the wound (dog held on for N seconds and bore down) or lacerations in both directions (dog held on and shook its head from side to side).
    • Multiple-bite incident with at least two Level 4 bites or multiple-attack incident with at least one Level 4 bite in each.
  • Victim dead.

What are the available treatments for dog bites?

The required treatment will depend on the severity of the dog bite. Below we have listed three general approaches:

1.Preventing dog bites

Prevention is, of course, the ideal scenario. The CDC provides information about how best to avoid dog bites.

2. First Aid

Despite our best efforts, dog bites still occur. When they do, the initial form of treatment is first aid. If the bite is life-threatening, you should call 911 or proceed to your nearest ER immediately. 

Other first aid actions include:

  • cleaning the wound immediately by running warm tap water over it for a couple of minutes – it’s a good idea to do this even if the skin doesn’t appear to be broken
  • removing any objects from the bite, such as teeth, hair, or dirt
  • putting a clean pad or sterile dressing over the wound and applying pressure, if the wound is bleeding heavily
  • drying the wound and covering it with a clean dressing or plaster
  • taking painkillers if you’re in pain, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen – children under 16 years old shouldn’t take aspirin
  • seeking medical advice

3. Dog Bites Reconstruction & Scar Reduction

Even with the best administration of first aid, dog bites may result in scarring. This is where a plastic surgeon can help. There are several plastic surgery techniques to remove and reduce the severity of the scar, helping to return the appearance of the skin to its pre-accident condition. 

Do you need plastic surgery for dog bites?

Facial reconstruction in Miami

Generally, facial reconstruction is a surgical procedure done to improve the function and appearance of the facial structures. Depending on the severity, a dog bite injury to the face can affect a patient’s ability to blink, eat, smile, and even talk.

If your injury has compromised these functions, you can greatly benefit from facial reconstruction surgery.

Scar removal in Miami

Facial scars and disfigurement are generally unsightly and can remind you of the traumatic incident. Research has shown that scars can have a negative effect on a person’s body image and self-confidence. The change in appearance can also put the patient at risk for anxiety and depression.

Scar removal treatment can help return your appearance to its condition before the accident. If you think your scars have a negative impact on your mental health, don’t hesitate to discuss your options with our facial plastic surgeon in Miami.

Where to get facial plastic surgery for dog bites?

If you think your injury needs reconstruction surgery, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Dr. Zaydon. An expert plastic surgeon, Dr. Zaydon performs scar revision and laser on deformities caused by dog bites. He is excellent at treating and repairing dog bite injuries as well as  removing scars. His decades of experience made him excellent at treating and repairing even the most severe deformities.

Learn more about Dr. Thomas Zaydon

Dr. Zaydon is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgery with over 20 years of experience. He treats the following patients: burns, nasal fractures, facial fractures, open wounds, skin ulcers, scars, ruptured/displace breast/body implants. He has hands-on experience with difficult catastrophic cases including severe burn victims.

He is the Chief of Plastic Surgery at Mercy hospital, he is the former President of the Florida Society of Plastic Surgeons and former President of Miami Society of Plastic Surgeons. He serves on the board of trustees for the Southeastern Society of Plastic Surgeons. He is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery and an active member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. He serves on the review board for a major insurance company that reviews doctors’ malpractice insurance claims. He reviews cases/authorizations for a large worker’s compensation carrier. He has worked with plaintiff and defense firms. Doctor Zaydon has impeccable credentials and has privileges at 11 major hospitals/ASC facilities.

Dr. Zaydon is very experienced in the treatment of dog bites, including those incurred through work-related accidents (e.g. postal worker dog bites) and those incurred in domestic settings. Depending on your injury, Dr. Zaydon will select the most appropriate procedure or treatment option which will help your skin to its pre-injury condition.

Read more about Dr. Zaydon’s role as a Plastic Surgery Expert Witness or as a Plastic Surgery Consultant.



The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

Negative effects of dog bites

Besides the obvious medical injuries occurred during dog bites, they also have other negative effects in terms of both mental health issues and the cost to the economy. Dog bite losses are in excess of $1 billion per year. Plus, there are often psychosocial consequences of dog bites. There are many studies documenting the psychological effects of dog bites in children and adults.

Types of dog bite injury

According to the typology created by Dr. Ian Dunbar, there are 6 types of dog bite:

Dog Bite Treatment

The required treatment will depend on the severity of the dog bite. Below we have listed three general approaches:

1.Preventing dog bites

Prevention is of course the ideal scenario. The Center for Disase Control provides information about how best to avoid dog bites.

2. First Aid

Despite our best efforts, dog bites do still occur. When thy occur, the first state of treatment is first aid. If the bite is life-threatening, you should call 911 or proceed to your nearest ER immediately. Other first aid actions include

(Source: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/animal-and-human-bites/)

3. Dog Bites Reconstruction & Scar Reduction

Even with the best administering of first aid, dog bites may result in scarring. This is where a plastic surgeon can help. There are several plastic surgery techniques to remove and reduce the severity of the scar, helping to return the appearance of the skin to its pre-accident condition. Read more about plastic surgery for scars.

About Dr. Thomas Zaydon

Dr Thomas Zaydon img aboutDr. Zaydon is a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgery with over 20 years of experience. He treats the following patients: burns, nasal fractures, facial fractures, open wound, skin ulcers, scars, ruptured/displace breast/body implants. He has hands on experience with difficult catastrophic cases including severe burn victims. He is the Chief of Plastic Surgery at Mercy hospital, he is the former President of the Florida Society of Plastic Surgeons and former President of Miami Society of Plastic Surgeons. He serves on the board of trustees for the Southeastern Society of Plastic Surgeons. He is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery and active member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. He serves on the review board for a major insurance company that reviews doctors malpractice insurance claims. He reviews cases/authorizations for a large worker’s compensation carrier. He has worked with plaintiff and defense firms. Doctor Zaydon has impeccable credentials and has privileges at 11 major hospitals/ASC facilities.

Dr. Zaydon is very experienced in the treatment of dog bites, including those incurred through work-related accidents (e.g. postal worker dog bites) and those incurred in domestic settings. Depending on your injury, Dr. Zaydon will select the most appropriate procedure or treatment option which will help your skin to it’s pre-injury condition.

Read more about Dr. Zaydon’s role as a Plastic Surgery Expert Witness or as a Plastic Surgery Consultant.

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Dog Bites img 1

Source: https://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics-fatalities-2017.php

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