Dog bite – a public health concern

Veterinary Hospital Kohima

“Your best companion can turn to be your worst enemy.”

The public usually tends to think a pet dog is a harmless animal but it’s not. A dog when it feels there is a threat to its position may bite any person. Certain dogs are aggressive by nature and may bite at the slightest provocation like stepping on its tail/ body/ hitting with stick/ throwing stone or any hard object. Dog usually targets the face, hand or leg parts. Sometimes the tendency of a dog to bite without provocation may be related to heredity, early bad experiences, later socialization, nutritious status and victim behaviour. Of all age groups, children are most at risk for dog bites probably because of the children’s behaviour towards unfamiliar strange dogs.

 

Sometimes familiarity with a dog shouldn’t be taken for granted because if a dog had bite once there always happen to be a second bite case and so on. The onus is on the pet owner to recognize the dog behaviour at an early stage and train the dog properly to be friendly, meek and docile or either dispose off the dog.

 

A disease condition called Rabies which is an incurable disease that can be infected to human through dog bite. A rabid dog during its latter stage become aggressive, restless and tends to bite people without provocation. It is vital that all pet owners understand the seriousness of the threat posed by rabid dog and the pet owners should vaccinate their pet dog with anti-rabies vaccine at three (3) month of age and then once yearly.

 

At any point of time if a dog had bitten a person, the dog owner along with the dog should immediately visit the nearest veterinary health centres for examination and observation of the dog to rule out any disease/rabies condition for the safety of the bitten person, dog owner and the public in general.