As dog bites become an increasingly major public health concern, a new study shows that unsupervised children are most at risk for bites, that the culprits are usually family pets and if they bite once, they will bite again with the second attack often more brutal than the first.
The study, the largest of its kind, was done by Vikram Durairaj, MD, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, who found that dogs usually target a child's face and eyes and most often it's a breed considered `good' with children, like a Labrador retriever.
"People tend to think the family dog is harmless, but it's not," said Durairaj, associate professor of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, who presented his study last month at the American Academy of Ophthalmology's annual meeting. "We have seen facial fractures around the eye, eye lids torn off, injury to the tear drainage system and the eyeball itself."
Some wounds are so severe that patients require multiple reconstructive surgeries.
Durairaj said dog bites are especially devastating to children because they are smaller and their faces are within easy reach of the animal's mouth. The likelihood of a child getting bitten in their lifetime is around 50 percent with 80 percent of those bites involving the head and neck.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year and 885,000 require medical attention. The total cost is estimated at up to $250 million.
The study looked at 537 children treated for facial dog bites at The Children's Hospital on the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus between 2003 and 2008. Durairaj found that 68 percent of bites occurred in children 5-years-old or younger with the highest incidence in 3-year-olds. In the majority of cases, the child knew the dog through the family, a friend or a neighbor. And more than half the time, the dog was provoked when the child petted it too aggressively, startled or stepped on it.
The dogs were not breeds usually associated with attacks. Durairaj found that mixed breeds were responsible for 23 percent of bites followed by Labrador retrievers at 13.7 percent. Rottweilers launched attacks in 4.9 percent of cases, German shepherds 4.4 percent of the time and Golden retrievers 3 percent. The study was done in the Denver area where pit bulls are banned.
"What is clear from our data is that virtually any breed of dog can bite," Durairaj said. "The tendency of a dog to bite is related to heredity, early experience, later socialization and training, health and victim behavior."
He stressed that familiarity with a dog is no guard against attack and if a dog bites once, it will likely bite again with the second attack often more vicious that the first. The first time a dog bites, he said, it should be removed from the home.
"I was called in to see a dog bite. A girl had a puncture wound to her lip. Two days later I saw the same girl, but this time her eyelids were torn off and she had severe scalp and ear lacerations," Durairaj said. "The onus is on parents to recognize aggressive breeds as well as behaviors and never allow their young children to be left unsupervised around any dog."
Faculty at the University of Colorado Denver's School of Medicine work to advance science and improve care. These faculty members include physicians, educators and scientists at University of Colorado Hospital, The Children's Hospital, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Degrees offered by the UC Denver School of Medicine include doctor of medicine, doctor of physical therapy, and masters of physician assistant studies. The School is located on the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus, one of four campuses in the University of Colorado system. For additional news and information, please visit the UC Denver newsroom online.
David Kelly | EurekAlert!
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences