Saturday, October 26, 2013

Anatomy of a Bite Healing

I've only been bit twice in all the years I've live- handled groundhogs, possum, fox, raccoon, and rats.  The first was a very small single-canine puncture, through a glove, from a small raccoon.  

The groundhog, above, got me a little better.  My fault -- I was cleaning stone out of the hole and I knew that Mr. Monax was very close by, as there was only a foot or two more left on the pipe. I got a little careless, however, and was not respectful enough. Like the dogs, I got taught a small lesson about discretion. Live and learn. Old school operant conditioning, no clicker training or treats involved. Think I will forget this lesson soon?  I bet not!

No, I did not get a rabies shot and engage in a lot of drama.  I tore a strip off a towel, wrapped it around the wound and tied it tight with electrical tape and finished the dig.   At home I washed the wound, hit it with proviodine, and let it air dry like a sensible human being, with a small strip of loose paper towel over the wound to keep the public from gagging. 
The wrong way to deal with a wound like is to slobber antibiotic ointment over the damn thing and bandage it  up -- that simply keeps the wound wet and open and ready for infection. A scab is Mother Nature's way of sealing up a wound against troubles, and most wounds -- human or dog -- will fill in fine in time. I tend to load a ripped dog with antibiotics the first few days after they are bit, especially if it's a fox or a raccoon, but in this case I could see the wound very well (no hair) and simply flushed it well, first with water (never with hydrogen peroxide!) and then with proviodine.

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