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Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program - Injury Reports

Injuries associated with... DOG BITES AND DOG ATTACKS

CHIRPP database, summary data for 1996, all ages


SUMMARY (1,237 records)

Injuries associated with dog bites and dog attacks were sustained most frequently by 5-9 year olds (28.5%). Of all injuries related to dog bites and dog attacks, 57.9% were to males. Injuries occurred most often in the summer, 37.7%, and most frequently between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m., (32.7%). Most injuries occurred at the victim's own home, 34.2% or other home, 30.3%. The majority of injuries occurred when the patient had no direct interaction with the dog, 28.9%. Injuries that required advice only or minor treatment accounted for 57.9% of patients, while 36.8% of patients needed medical follow-up after leaving the emergency department and 4.5% were admitted to hospital. Overall, the most frequent types of injury were bites, 73.1%, and the body part most often affected was the face, 40.5%.



SPECIFICATIONS OF THE SEARCH

In April 1998, a search of the CHIRPP database for the year 1996 (118,717 records) was conducted. No age restriction was specified in the search. Records were selected i) if they contained a factor code for dog (code 1301), mechanism for animal bite or sting (code 17) and nature of injury for bite (code 22) or ii) if the text fields contained the following strings: "DOG" or "CHIEN". Selected records were then scanned and eliminated if the injury was not directly related to a dog bite or dog attack. The total number of records identified was 1,237.


OVERALL OCCURRENCE

In 1996, dog bites and dog attacks represented 1.0% of all injuries in the CHIRPP database.


AGE AND SEX DISTRIBUTION OF INJURIES
AGE

NUMBER

PERCENT OF
INJURIES

% MALE*

NUMBER/
100,000 **

<=1 year

80

6.5

50.0

625

2-4 years

273

22.1

54.3

1,362

5-9 years

353

28.5

55.2

1,474

10-14 years

292

23.6

63.4

1,052

15-19 years

65

5.3

44.6

548

20+ years

174

14.1

60.9

780

Total

1,237

100.0

57.9

1,042

* Of all injuries in the CHIRPP database in 1996, 60.1% were sustained by males.
** The number of injuries associated with dog bites and dog attacks per 100,000 CHIRPP injuries of all types within the age group indicated. Because CHIRPP collects information from ten children's hospitals and only six of the general hospitals, there is a high number of young children in the database. Using number per 100,000 within an age group (instead of overall percent by age group) adjusts for different age group distributions.


TIME AT WHICH INJURY OCCURRED
TIME

NUMBER

PERCENT OF
INJURIES

8:00 a.m. to noon

127

10.3

Noon to 4 p.m.

250

20.2

4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

405

32.7

8 p.m. to midnight

223

18.0

Midnight to 8 a.m.

25

2.0

Unknown

207

16.7

Total

1,237

100.0


DAY DURING WHICH INJURY OCCURRED
DAY

NUMBER

PERCENT OF
INJURIES

Sunday

230

18.6

Monday

161

13.0

Tuesday

138

11.2

Wednesday

147

11.9

Thursday

154

12.4

Friday

153

12.4

Saturday

254

20.5

Total

1,237

100.0


SEASON DURING WHICH INJURY OCCURRED
SEASON

NUMBER

PERCENT OF
INJURIES

Spring (March - May)

332

26.8

Summer (June - August)

467

37.7

Fall (September - November)

265

21.5

Winter (December - February)

173

14.0

Total

1,237

100.0


WHERE THE INJURY OCCURRED
Place

NUMBER

PERCENT OF INJURIES

Own home

423

34.2

indoor 242
outdoor (i.e., driveway, garden, yard) 126
not further specified

55

Other home

375

30.3

outdoor (i.e., driveway, garden, yard) 166
indoor 141
not further specified

68

Road

113

9.1

Public park

38

3.1

Private and commercial areas

21

1.7

School yard

15

1.2

Sports and recreation areas

14

1.1

Other area

22

1.8

Unknown or unspecified

216

17.5

Total

1,237

100.0


RELATIONSHIP OF VICTIM AND DOG
RELATIONSHIP

NUMBER

PERCENT OF INJURIES

Dog of friend, acquaintance, neighbour or relative

434

35.1

Victim's dog or family dog

372

30.1

Stray or unknown dog

151

12.2

Unspecified (insufficient information provided)

280

22.6

Total

1,237

100.0


Note: The following is a list of frequently occurring circumstances and factors in injuries related to dog bites and dog attacks. Each patient was assigned to a single category and percentages were based on 1,237 persons injured. Category assignment was based on the level of detail available in the description of the injury.

CIRCUMSTANCES AND FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO INJURY
CIRCUMSTANCES AND FACTORS

NUMBER

PERCENT OF INJURIES

No interaction with the dog

358

28.9

no interaction at time of bite or attack 158
victim was cycling, rollerblading, walking, running, or skateboarding 99
victim's activity, not further specified 41
victim making a delivery or service call 32
victim walked, passed dog's territory 28
Ordinary interaction with dog (excluding playing) 239 19.3
victim trying to pet or handle the dog 160
victim feeding dog 70
walking dog or with dog and attacked by other dog 9
Playing with dog 217 17.5
playing with dog, no further details provided 176
playing with ball, stick, etc., with dog 24
rough play, e.g., wrestling with dog 17
Victim hurt, provoked or disturbed dog 97 7.8
dog bit after being teased or provoked 40
dog startled or disturbed while sleeping 34
dog bit after being hurt or hit by victim

23

Disciplining dog 70 5.7
restraining dog, scolding or retrieving dog 34
victim separating dogs in a dog fight 19
taking something away from the dog (not belonging to the dog) 17
Other circumstances 42 3.4
dog protecting owner 8
sick or injured dog 8
dog commanded to attack person 6
other

20

Unspecified or insufficient information provided 214 17.3
Total

1,237

100.0

NATURE OF INJURY AND BODY PART INJURED
Up to three injuries may be specified for each record. One hundred and eighty-eight patients (15.2%) sustained more than one injury. 137 patients sustained two injuries (11.1%), and 51 sustained three injuries (4.1%). There was no injury detected in 5 patients.
NATURE OF INJURY AND BODY PART INJURED

NUMBER

PERCENT OF
INJURIES

Bite

1,075

73.1

head, face, neck 430
hand, finger 219
forearm, wrist 126
lower leg, foot, toe 104
hip, thigh, knee 97
trunk 55
shoulder, upper arm

44

Cut, laceration

265

18.0

face 150
upper extremity 63
lower extremity 28
head, neck 15
trunk 9
Bruise, abrasion, inflammation 118 8.0
upper extremity 41
face 35
lower extremity 35
trunk

7

Eye injury

6

0.4

Fracture

3

0.2

finger, thumb 2
hand

1

Injury to nerve, muscle - face

2

0.1

Amputation or partial amputation - part of face

1

0.1

Crushing injury - external genitalia

1

0.1

Total

1,471

100.0


TREATMENT PROVIDED IN THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT

TREATMENT

NUMBER

PERCENT OF INJURIES

Left without being seen

9

0.7

Advice only, or treatment with no need for follow-up

716

57.9

Treated, medical follow-up required

456

36.8

Admitted to hospital

56

4.5*

Fatal injury

0**

0.0

Total

1,237

100.0

* The percentage of all CHIRPP injuries in 1996 that resulted in hospital admission was 5.8%.
** Fatalities counted by CHIRPP include only those patients who were dead on arrival at the emergency department or who died in the emergency department. They do not include people who died before they could be taken to hospital or those who died after hospital admission. Only 0.03% of all CHIRPP injuries were fatal during 1996.


PROFILE OF PATIENTS ADMITTED TO HOSPITAL

Of the 56 patients admitted to hospital, 35 were males and 21 were females; 19 patients (33.9%) were aged 5-9 years, 17 (30.4%) were aged 2-4 years, 8 (14.3%) were aged 10-14 years, 6 (10.7%) were one year and under, 4 (7.1%) were 20 years or older, and 2 were aged 15-19 years.

The circumstances surrounding dog bites and dog attacks in admitted patients are outlined below: 13 patients were playing with their dog. Twelve patients had no direct interaction with a dog: 9 patients were playing by themselves, 2 patients were walking past a dog in its yard, and 1 patient was delivering newspapers. Nine patients were interacting normally with a dog: 6 patients were trying to pet a dog, 2 were handling the dog's food, and 1 patient was sitting next to his dog when he was attacked by another dog. Five patients were injured while restraining or disciplining their dog. Two patients were walking or rollerblading when they were chased and bitten by a dog. One patient was bitten when she tripped and startled a sleeping dog. One patient was bitten by an injured dog. One patient was attacked by a dog while being carried by his cousin. One patient was bitten when she tried to approach a female dog with pups. Finally, a patient was letting a cat upstairs and was bitten by her own dog. In 10 patients, the circumstances involving dog bites or attacks were not specified.

Bites were sustained by 42 patients (30 of the face or head, 7 of the hand, 2 of the finger or thumb, 1 of the abdomen, 1 of the thigh and 1 of the lower leg). Ten patients suffered cuts and lacerations (8 of the face, 1 of the shoulder and 1 to the abdomen). Two patients sustained eye injuries, 1 patient suffered bruising, and 1 sustained a muscle injury to the face.


SUGGESTED REFERENCE AND REPORTING INFORMATION

This report and data from it may be copied and circulated freely, provided that the source is acknowledged. The following citation is recommended:

Injury data were obtained from the database of the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP), Public Health Agency of Canada.

If data from this report are included in any other document or publication, it should be noted, where appropriate, that the information comes from sixteen hospitals (ten pediatric and six general) across Canada.

For additional information on the CHIRPP program, please contact the Child Injury Section, Public Health Agency of Canada, by phone at (613) 941-9918 or by FAX at (613) 941-9927.