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Are cat bites or dog bites more dangerous?

People often worry far more about dog bites than cat bites. It makes sense considering many dogs' size and strength and the fact that the American Humane Society reports that there are roughly 4.7 million dog bite incidents annually within the United States.

However, experts point out that cat bites can actually be more dangerous on the whole. For instance, a study carried out at the Mayo Clinic found that 33 percent of people who suffered cat bites wound up in the hospital. Of that group, a full 66 percent had to have surgery.

The problem is, in part, that the cat is usually smaller. The teeth are slender and sharp, compared to a dog's, and they can really puncture far deeper into a person's body than they realize. As they do so, bacteria from the cat's mouth gets pushed deep below the skin, into muscle and other tissue.

This all means that there is a very high chance that a cat bite will become infected. Infections can have drastic results, even when the initial bite did not seem that serious.

A dog bite may look worse. Rather than puncturing the flesh, those relatively blunt teeth tend to rip and tear. This leads to an exposed wound that isn't as deep. It looks bad, and it may bleed more, but that also means it's far easier to clean and less likely to get infected -- though it can happen.

If you're bitten by an animal, especially if you develop an infection and need surgery, it's important to know what rights you may have to compensation from the owner.

Source: Consumer Affairs, "Study: Cat bites are more dangerous than dog bites," Mark Huffman, accessed March 23, 2018

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