Emergency Department Visits and Hospitals Stays Involving Dog Bites
Dogs can be friendly and many love when people pet them and play with them, but if a dog is mistreated or in a bad mood, he or she can become very dangerous. Dogs are just like any other animal in that they will do what it takes to protect themselves and their families from harm, and their weapons are their teeth. Dog bites can be extremely harmful to people and can lead to serious injuries.The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality published a study in 2010 that showed, over a 15 year period, Americans hospitalized for dog bites had nearly doubled. DogsBite.org released the study highlights as follows:
- In 2008 alone, there were about 316,200 visits to the emergency department involving dog bites, which equals about 103.9 visits per every 100,000 people in the entire population. People that stayed in the hospital for dog bites made up about 9,500 of the total hospital stays, or 3.1 stays per 100,000 people.
- Males were seen in the emergency department for dog bites more than women at a rate of 110.4 men per 100,000 versus only 97.8 women per 100,000. There was no difference, however, in people staying in the hospital for dog bites.
- Almost 75 percent of emergency department visits for dog bites were for patients 44 years and younger, but only half of the hospital stays were for this age group.
- Emergency department visits for dog bites were about four times higher in rural areas than urban areas and about three times higher for hospital stays.
- Common injuries from dog bites that are related to hospitalization include skin and close tissue infections; open wounds of legs and arms; open wounds of the head, neck, and trunk; and fractures of upper limbs.
- Dog bite related emergency department visits were highest in the Midwest at 109.9 per 100,000, followed by the Northeast at 108.5 per 100,000, and lowest in the West at only 93.0 visits per 100,000 people.
- Dog bite related hospital stays were highest in the Northeast at 3.9 stays per 100,000 people and lowest in the West at 2.5 stays per 100,000 people.
- More than 40 percent of emergency department visits and inpatient stays for dog bites injuries were billed to private insurance companies.
- On average, a hospital stay for a dog bite related injury was about $18,200, which is about 50 percent higher than an average stay for injuries.