Prevention of Dog Bite Injuries: Epidemiological Study, Prevention Concept
World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings, 2010
Colette Pillonel, Dr.Med.Vet., Behaviourist Veterinarian, ENVF Qualified
Renens, Switzerland

Read the German translation: Vorbeugen von Hundebissunfällen: epidemiologische Studie

The objectives of this prospective study were to estimate the incidence of dog bites receiving medical treatment and to identify possible risk factors. An annual dog bite incidence rate of 180/100 000 population was estimated, which confirms the results of a previous Swiss study.7

The Victims

The highest incidence rates were found in children, young adults and dog owners. Data gathered from hospitals shows that children are bitten twice as often as adults. While head and neck injuries were most common amongst children, these tended to have more severe sequelae; adults' injuries most commonly involved the extremities.

The Situations

Victim-dog interactions prior to the incident often were observed in children, particularly in infants (82% of 0-4-year-old cases) and in family dog bites.

Biting dogs were most commonly medium or large in size and aged < 5 years; however, babies and young children between the age of 0 and 4 years are more often bitten by small dogs than older victims (OR = 2,0 (IC 95% 1,1-3,7)). Male dogs bite 2.9 times more often than females (IC 95% 2,3-3,8). No difference in bite risk was found between pure-bred and cross-bred dogs. The three most common breeds8 (Shepherd, Retriever Dogs and Swiss Mountain Breeds) were also the three most common biters. The Rottweiler is over-represented amongst biting dogs (OR = 3,4 (IC 95% 2,2-5,4). The pastoral group (German Shepherds / Belgian Shepherds / and other herding breeds) is over-represented too. (OR = 2,3 (IC 95% 1,8-3,0). The retriever group (Labrador / Golden) is under-represented (OR = 0,6 (IC 95% 0,4-1,0)), however this statement is not valid in the case where the owner is bitten by his own dog.


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Speaker Information
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Colette Pillonel, Dr Med., Behaviourist Veterinarian, ENVF Qualified
Renens, Switzerland