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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 393176, 6 pages
Clinical Study

Dog Bite Injuries: Primary and Secondary Emergency Department Presentations—A Retrospective Cohort Study

1Department of General Internal Medicine, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland
2Department of Emergency Medicine, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland
3Department of Visceral Surgery, Basel Bruderholz Cantonal Hospital, 4059 Basel, Switzerland
4Department of Infectious Diseases, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland

Received 6 August 2013; Accepted 27 August 2013

Academic Editors: F. Catena and H. Zimmermann

Copyright © 2013 Carmen A. Pfortmueller et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Dog bites in humans are a complex problem, embracing both public health and animal welfare. The primary aim of this study is to examine primary and secondary presentations related to dog bite injuries in adults. Methods. We retrospectively assessed all adult patients admitted with a dog bite injury to the Emergency Department of Bern University Hospital. Results. A total of 431 patients were eligible for the study. Forty-nine (11.4%) of all patients were admitted with secondary presentations. Bites to the hands were most common (177, 41.1%). All patients (47, 100%) with secondary presentations were admitted because of signs of infection. The median time since the dog bite was 3.8 days (SD 3.9, range 1–21). Thirty-one patients had already been treated with antibiotic; coamoxicillin was the most common primary antibiotic therapy (27/47 patients, 57.4%). Patients with injuries to the hand were at increased risk of secondary presentations (OR 2.08, 95% CI 1.21–3.55, ). Conclusion. Dog bite injuries to the hands are a major problem. They often lead to infectious complications. Immediate antibiotic therapy should carefully be evaluated for each patient.