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!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy