Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Involving Dog Bites, 2008
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality published a study in 2010 showing that the number of Americans hospitalized for dog bites almost doubled over a 15-year period.
- In 2008, about 316,200 ED visits involved a dog bite, a rate of 103.9 visits per 100,000 population. Approximately 9,500 hospital stays involved a dog bite, a rate of 3.1 stays per 100,000 population.
- Males were seen in the ED at a higher rate for dog bites (110.4 per 100,000) than were females (97.8 per 100,000), while there were no gender differences in dog bite-related hospital stays.
- The average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay was $18,200, approximately 50 percent higher than the average injury-related hospital stay.
- Over 40 percent of ED visits and inpatient stays that involved a dog bite were billed to private insurance (44.7 and 42.9 percent, respectively).
- Nearly three-quarters of dog bite-related ED visits were for patients 44 and younger (73.1 percent), while only about half (51.1 percent) of dog bite-related hospital stays were for this age group.
- There were 4 times as many dog bite-related ED visits and 3 times as many hospital stays in rural areas than in urban areas.
- Dog bite-related ED visits were highest in the Midwest (109.9 visits per 100,000 population) and Northeast (108.5 visits) and lowest in the West (93.0 visits), while dog bite-related hospitalizations were highest in the Northeast (3.9 stays per 100,000 population) and lowest in the West (2.5 stays). These differences are similar to all injuries.
- Common principal diagnoses for dog bite-related hospitalizations included skin and subcutaneous tissue infections; open wounds of extremities; open wounds of head, neck, and trunk; and fractures of upper limbs.