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The epidemiology of dog bite injuries in Switzerland - characteristics of victims, biting dogs and circumstances

By U. Horisberger, K. D. C. Stark, J. Rufenacht, C. Pillonel, A. Steiger

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Dogs are a potential source of several health hazards for humans. Public attention has recently focussed on dog bites, and different prevention strategies have been suggested. As few data on dog bite epidemiology are available, a prospective study was conducted in family practices (FP) and emergency departments (ED) in Switzerland. The objectives of this study were to estimate the incidence of dog bites receiving medical treatment and to identify possible risk factors. An annual dog bite incidence rate of 180/100 000 population was estimated. The highest incidence rates were found in children, young adults and dog owners. While head and neck injuries were most common (37% of FP and 45% of ED cases) amongst children and these tended to have more severe sequelae, adults' injuries most commonly involved the extremities. Victim-dog interactions prior to the incident often were observed in children, particularly in infants (82% of 0-4-year-old cases) and in family dog bites (88%). Biting dogs were most commonly medium or large in size, male, and aged

Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 17
Issue 4
Pages 320-339
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
Publisher Bloomsbury Journals (formerly Berg Journals)
DOI 10.2752/089279304785643212
Language English
Author Address Federal Veterinary Office, Bern, Switzerland.ursula.horisberger@lu.ch
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Animals
  3. Anthrozoology
  4. Bites and stings
  5. Breeds
  6. Canidae
  7. Canine
  8. Carnivores
  9. Developed countries
  10. Dogs
  11. Epidemiology
  12. Europe
  13. Human diseases and injuries
  14. Humans
  15. Incidence
  16. Injuries
  17. Mammals
  18. Men
  19. OECD countries
  20. peer-reviewed
  21. Pets and companion animals
  22. prevention
  23. Primates
  24. risk factors
  25. Switzerland
  26. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed