Surgical management of dog bites in a neonate

Luigino Santecchia, Fiammetta Piersigilli, Barbara Iacobelli, Guglielmo Salvatori, Cinzia Auriti


Objective – To describe a rare case of a very young female infant who suffered life threatening injuries by the family owned pet dog because she was ravaged at 10 days of life.

Case report – The clinical conditions and vital signs of the infant on admission were stable. The buccal tissue presented multiple lacerations and the oral cavity was obstructed by multiple blood clots. Plastic surgery reconstruction was undertaken according to functional and aesthetic requirements. Antibiotic prophylaxis, tetanus vaccine and specific immunoglobulin were administered to the baby. Wound healing was excellent, despite contaminated wounds. Early and long term results of the intervention of reconstructive surgery are shown. We also review the literature to understand the background of this unexpected accident and its possible prevention.

Conclusions – In children injuries by dog bites can be life-threatening, often imply aesthetic problems, as they involve mostly the neck and the head, and require medical and challenging surgical treatments. Despite the fact that infections do not occur frequently, in neonates, because of the lack of an efficient immune response, it is highly recommendable to start antibiotics and perform tetanus immunization together with the administration of specific immunoglobulins.


Dog; Neonate; Dog bite

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