Head and neck dog bites in children

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2009 Mar;140(3):354-7. doi: 10.1016/j.otohns.2008.11.026.


Objectives: 1) Demonstrate patterns of dog bite injury to the head and neck in children. 2) Identify treatment outcomes of dog bite injuries to the head and neck.

Study design: Case series with chart review.

Subjects and methods: Children aged 0 to 19 years, treated for head and neck dog bites at our tertiary care children's hospital (1999-2007), were included. Demographics, dog breed and ownership, seasonal incidence, wound location, characteristics, management, and complications were recorded.

Results: Eighty-four children, aged 10 months to 19 years (mean, 6.19 years) underwent primary repair of head and neck dog bite injuries. The cheek (34%) and lips (21%) were involved most commonly. Average wound length was 7.15 cm. Dog bite incidence peaked during summer months. Infection occurred in 10.7 percent. Pulsed dye laser was used to improve cosmesis.

Conclusions: Children are vulnerable to head and neck dog bite injuries. Wound healing is excellent despite a contaminated wound. Infections occur infrequently. Pulsed dye laser improves cosmesis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Animals
  • Bites and Stings / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / surgery*
  • Debridement
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neck Injuries / etiology
  • Neck Injuries / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Wound Healing
  • Young Adult