Subungual Hematoma From Dog Bite

July 16, 2013

After a dog bite, trauma in the form of a subungual hematoma and shallow lacerations prompted a 10-day course of amoxicillin-clavulanate. This antibiotic is also useful for cat and human bites that appear to be at high risk of becoming infected.

A 59-year-old man sought medical attention because of a tender dog bite. The canine became scared following an abrupt gesture and bit the patient, the pet’s owner.

Key point: The bite site showed evidence of trauma in the form of a subungual hematoma. In addition, there were a few shallow lacerations as well as some mild swelling and erythema immediately proximal to the posterior nail fold. The red area was modestly painful to palpation.  

Treatment: Because of the mildly tender erythema, the patient was given a 10-day course of amoxicillin/clavulanate.

Note: The same antibiotic is useful for dog, cat, and human bites that appear to be, or are at high risk for becoming, infected. Because this particular pet’s “shots” were current, rabies was not of concern.