It’s no secret that dogs and cats are prone to being bitten by other animals.
In fact, they account for over 80% of all animal bites in the United States.
But what happens if you actually get bit by a squirrel?
What Happens If A Squirrel Bites A Dog?
While there are no statistics on how often this occurs, it does occur.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), about 1-5% of all dog bite cases involve some sort of squirrel bite incident.
In most cases, the dog will experience only minor injuries.
The AVMA reports that most squirrel bites result in “a laceration or puncture wound with minimal bleeding,” which is usually treated with ice packs, antihistamines, and pain relievers.
However, if the dog is allergic to the venom, then the veterinarian may have to administer an epinephrine injection in order to prevent further complications, such as swelling around the mouth and tongue, wheezing, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, convulsions, and shock.
If the dog survives the initial attack, then he or she should recover fully within 24 hours.
However, if the dog is suffering from any of the symptoms listed above, then medical attention should immediately be sought.
Fortunately, many dogs survive these attacks without having to visit a vet.
This is because squirrels rarely inject their victims with a lethal dose of venom.
Instead, they tend to target areas like the face, ears, lips, and paws, where a dog can easily lick up the venom.
While it’s possible that your dog could die from a squirrel bite, this is exceedingly rare.
It’s more likely that he or she will simply suffer a painful injury that requires a trip to the vet at least once.
In addition to the above-mentioned symptoms, a dog that has been attacked by a squirrel may also exhibit signs of rabies.
While this is extremely unlikely, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when dealing with rabid animals.
Rabies is spread through saliva, so if your dog is bitten by a squirrel, you must wash his or her wound thoroughly with soap and water.
You must also contact your local health department to see if your dog has ever had rabies vaccines before, or if he or she was vaccinated after being exposed to a rabid animal.
According to the AVMA, there are three ways that dogs can contract rabies:
So, if your dog has been exposed to a rabid animal, then you should take him or her to your vet right away.
If your dog has received a rabies vaccination, then he or she should receive one again immediately.
If your dog has never had a rabies shot, then he or she should receive one now.
The Dangers Of A Squirrel Bite
Squirrels are often mistaken for rodents, but many people do not realize that they can be dangerous when they bite humans.
The truth is that squirrels have sharp teeth and claws which they use to protect themselves from predators such as foxes and raccoons.
They also play an important role in their ecosystem by eating insects and seeds.
However, this does not mean that a squirrel bite is harmless.
There are several reasons why a squirrel bite could pose serious danger to your health.
- Squirrel bites are usually caused by territorial behavior.
- Squirrels sometimes attack smaller animals such as chickens, rabbits, or other pets.
- Squirrels are capable of inflicting deep wounds with their powerful jaws.
- Squirrels are very good climbers and jumpers.
Therefore, they can climb up trees and fall down on unsuspecting victims.
- They will then proceed to bite and scratch at the victim until blood flows out of the wound.
This is especially true if the victim is a person who has allergies to squirrel saliva.
- Squirrels have been known to hide inside houses and cause property damage.
- Squirrels are attracted to shiny objects and will chew through them and leave behind pieces of metal or glass.
- Squirrels are very aggressive and will chase and bite any animal that gets too close to them.
The Symptoms Of A Squirrel Bite
If you think that a squirrel bite is just like a dog or cat bite, then you are sorely mistaken.
While dog and cat bites typically result in minor scratches and bruises, a squirrel bite can result in much more serious injuries.
A squirrel bite is often referred to as an “avian bite” because they have powerful jaws that can easily break teeth.
While an avian bite will cause pain, swelling, and bruising, the real danger comes from the venom.
There are two kinds of venomous snakes in North America, rattlesnakes and copperheads.
The risk of getting bitten by either snake is extremely low.
However, there are also several species of poisonous insects including wasps, spiders, and scorpions.
These are far more dangerous than either type of snake.
When a squirrel bites someone, it injects saliva into the wound.
This venom is a mixture of chemicals which includes neurotoxins, hemotoxins (which attack blood vessels), myotoxins (which damage muscle tissue), and cardiotoxins (which affect heart function).
The combination of these poisons causes severe damage to internal organs, which is why it is so important to seek medical attention immediately after a squirrel bite.
In addition to the toxins, squirrels also have a tendency to bite repeatedly.
When this occurs, the victim could experience multiple bites on different parts of their body.
Each bite can lead to additional symptoms depending on where the bite occurred.
The Treatment For A Squirrel Bite
If you have been bitten by a squirrel, you should immediately seek medical attention from your veterinarian.
You may also want to consider getting rabies shots if you live in an area where there are lots of squirrels or if you were bitten while outside.
A bite by a squirrel can often go unnoticed.
It can be painful and cause you some discomfort, but it will usually heal on its own within a day or two.
However, certain circumstances can make your bite more serious than others.
Here are the most common scenarios and their treatments.
- Squirrel Bite: Skin Irritation
- Squirrel Bite: Infection
- Squirrel Bite: Bleeding
- Squirrel Bite: Bite Wound That Is Not Healing Properly
- Squirrel Bite: Bite Wound With Possible Tissue Damage
- Squirrel Bite: Bite Wound With Possible Fracture
- Squirrel Bite: Bite Wound With Possible Bone Breakage
- Squirrel Bite: Bite Wound With Possible Neurological Damage
In addition to seeking immediate medical assistance, you can do several things to help treat your injuries.
Keep reading to learn how to prevent a squirrel bite in the first place as well as how to treat a squirrel bite when it does occur.
How To Prevent A Squirrel Bite
A squirrel bite can be very dangerous, especially if it is infected with rabies or another disease.
However, if you do not receive treatment from a doctor immediately after an attack, there is a good chance your wound will heal on its own.
Here is how to prevent a squirrel bite.
- If a squirrel attacks you, then run away as quickly as possible and shout loudly to scare them off.
- Try to move as far away from the squirrel as possible.
They tend to bite the most vulnerable parts of their victims, such as the legs and fingers.
- Do not try to catch the squirrel.
They are wild animals and should not be handled by humans.
- If you have been bitten by a squirrel, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
- Do not apply any kind of medication, even if your doctor recommends it.
It can make the situation worse.
- Avoid going outside until your wounds have healed completely.
What To Do If You Are Bitten By A Squirrel
If you have been bitten by a squirrel, chances are good that you will be okay.
The majority of squirrel bites are minor scratches or puncture wounds on the hands and feet, not actual bites.
However, there are some instances where a squirrel bite can cause serious harm.
In these cases, a squirrel bite can result in infection, swelling, bleeding, nerve damage, and even death.
Here’s what you need to know about how squirrels bite and what to do after you’ve been bitten by one.
Squirrel Bite Symptoms And Treatment
You should always seek medical attention immediately if you suspect you’ve been bitten by a squirrel.
This is because squirrel bites can become infected very quickly, which is why it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible.
The most common symptoms of an infected squirrel bite include pain, redness, swelling, discoloration, and tenderness around the wound site.
If you think you might have been bitten by a squirrel, make sure you contact your doctor right away so they can examine your wound and rule out any underlying medical condition.
Is It Safe To Treat Myself At Home?
While it’s true that many squirrel bites don’t require immediate medical treatment, this doesn’t mean that you can deal with them yourself at home.
Squirrel bites can develop into infections because they often contain bacteria from the squirrel’s saliva.
Your immune system will recognize the bacteria and start producing antibodies against it.
These antibodies then travel through your blood stream to your lymph nodes, where they begin to attack the bacteria.
This process is known as hypersensitivity, and it’s what causes a severe allergic reaction.
The only way to prevent this from happening is to treat the bite with antibiotics.
Antibiotics are typically prescribed to help prevent infection.
But remember that squirrel bites can also become infected without proper treatment, so it’s best to go straight to the doctor when you first notice any signs of discomfort or injury.
Can I Still Get Rabies From A Squirrel Bite?
Yes, but not as often as you might think.
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1 person dies each year from rabies contracted from a squirrel bite.
This means that the odds of contracting rabies from a squirrel bite are very low.
However, if you are bitten by a rabid squirrel, you should still seek medical care as soon as possible.
Rabid squirrels are extremely aggressive, and their bites are more likely to become infected.
Should I Be Worried About Other Squirrel Species?
Most people aren’t aware of it, but there are several different species of squirrels living throughout North America.
The most common types of squirrels found in the U.S. are Black-tailed, Fox, Long-Tailed, and Eastern Gray Squirrels.
While these four species pose little risk to humans, others such as Red Squirrels, Hairy-Nosed, and
Flying Squirrels are known to carry diseases such as rabies.
If you find yourself in close proximity to one of these animals, it’s highly recommended that you
wear protective clothing such as long pants, closed-toe shoes, and long sleeves while outdoors.