Pit Bull attack causing limb threatening vascular trauma -A case series

Int J Surg Case Rep. 2018;42:133-137. doi: 10.1016/j.ijscr.2017.11.061. Epub 2017 Dec 8.


Introduction: Non-fatal human dog bites are commonplace amongst animal attacks on human beings and these present with mainly skin and soft tissue injuries. However, they can also present with life threatening head and neck injuries, massive soft tissue trauma, as well as combined orthopedic and vascular extremity injuries where a high possibility of limb loss exists.

Presentation of cases: We present two adult dog bite victims with multiple bites inflicted by large canines identified as Pit-Bull Terriers. They were presented with deep lacerations to the axillary area resulting in limb ischemia and loss of upper limb pulses. The right axillary artery was crushed in both patients whilst the axillary vein was lacerated in one. The vessels were repaired; the wounds debrided and both limbs were salvaged.

Discussion: Canine attacks by Pit Bull Terriers and Rottweiler's can occur at any age and in any anatomical area of the body particularly the limbs. Injuries involving the extremities presenting with no pulses or pulsatile bleeding demand an urgent exploration as any undue delay is intolerable especially if there are bony injuries like fractures or fracture/dislocation. All patients with complex neurovascular injuries should be managed by a multidisciplinary team for an optimal outcome.

Conclusion: Attacks by Pit Bull Terriers are more likely to cause severe morbidity than other breeds of dogs. Immediate surgical exploration is required to prevent catastrophic outcomes, especially limb loss. Stronger animal control laws, public education and responsible dog ownership may reduce deaths from these canines.

Keywords: Canine (Pit Bull) attack; Vascular injury.