Dog Bites: Uniting Mailmen, Plastic Surgeons, and Veterinarians. Really.
Dr. Neaman is a Board Certified plastic surgeon with additional education through the Mayo Clinic Microsurgery Training Program. Having treated a number of dog bite patients, Dr. Neaman knows all too well how devastating these injuries can be. That’s why the United States Postal Service (USPS) is teaming up with several groups of pediatricians and veterinarians to raise the awareness of, and help prevent dog bites.
Did you know that half of all children are bitten by a dog by the time they are high school seniors? And how many reconstructive procedures after dog bites do you think were done last year? Would you believe 30,000? You should because this number is correct, and it’s up 8% from the preceding year.
Many of these patients are children, and many require multiple operations. Even more upsetting is that many of the youngest victims suffer bites to the face, and these can truly be devastating for the entire family. So this is no small issue.
The U.S. Postal Service is obviously interested in this because many mail handlers are victims of dog bites: 2500+ last year alone. But, with acknowledgment to them, let’s paraphrase their recommendations on how to avoid dog bites. Remember, even the gentlest of dogs can bite if they are hurt, or feel threatened, or if they are protecting food or a toy.
Here are the USPS’ tips:
- Don’t run past a dog; it’s their instinct to chase and catch prey.
- If a dog threatens you, don’t scream. Avoid eye contact, and remain still until the dog leaves. Then back away slowly.
- Don’t approach a strange dog, especially if they are tethered or confined.
- If you choose to pet a dog, always let the dog see and sniff you first. (And don’t reach over the dog’s head.)
- If you think a dog is going to attack you, place something between you and the dog, such as a bike or a backpack.
Since many of the victims of dog bites are children — and young children at that, we need to make sure that we teach these tips to our children. A few simple steps can save us all a lot of grief. None of us want to end up in the Emergency Department.
Contact Neaman Plastic Surgery
Dr. Keith Neaman is a Board Certified plastic surgeon living in Salem, Oregon. Contact Dr. Neaman today if you’ve been a victim of a dog bite and need help.