Dog bites are a common pediatric problem, accounting for approximately 1% of emergency visits yearly and resulting in trauma to 500,000 to 1,000,000 persons a year. The highest incidence is seen in children aged 5 to 14 years, and boys receive twice as many injuries as girls. Contrary to popular opinion, the dogs that most often bite children are not strays but are owned by the family (15%) or neighbors (75%). German shepherds are implicated in one half to one third of incidents.

Animal saliva, found both in the mouth and on the paws of the dog because of licking, is the source of bacteria isolated from wound cultures; Streptococcus, Staphylococcus (both coagulase negative and positive), Pasteurella multocida, and anaerobes are the organisms most frequently cultured.

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