Pediatric patients with dog bites presenting to US children’s hospitals

Sriram Ramgopal*, Michelle L. Macy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: To characterize pediatric dog bite injuries presenting to US children’s hospitals and identify factors associated with clinically significant injuries. Methods: We performed a multicenter observational study from 26 pediatric hospitals between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2020, including patients ≤ 18 years with dog bites, consolidating together encounters from patients with multiple encounters within 30 days as a single episode of care. We characterized diagnoses and procedures performed in these patients. We used generalized linear mixed models to identify factors associated with a composite outcome that we term clinically significant injuries (defined as admission, operating room charge, sedation, fractures/dislocations, intracranial/eye injury, skin/soft tissue infection, or in-hospital mortality). Results: 68,833 episodes were included (median age 6.6 years [interquartile range 3.5–10.4 years], 55.5% male) from 67,781 patients. We identified 16,502 patients (24.0%) with clinically significant injuries, including 6653 (9.7%) admitted, 5080 (7.4%) managed in the operating room, 11,685 (17.0%) requiring sedation, 493 (0.7%) with a skull fracture, 32 (0.0%) with a fracture in the neck or trunk, 389 (0.6%) with a fracture of the upper limb, 51 (0.1%) with a fracture in the lower limb, 15 (0.0%) with dislocations, 66 (0.1%) with an intracranial injury and 164 (0.2%) with an injury to the eyeball, 3708 (5.4%) with skin/soft tissue infections, and 5 (0.0%) with in-hospital mortality. In multivariable analysis, younger age (0–4 years, 5–9 years, and 10–14 years relative to 15–18 years), weekday injuries, and an income in the second and third quartiles (relative to the lowest quartile) had higher odds of clinically significant injuries. Black patients (relative to White), Hispanic/Latino ethnicity, and private insurance status (relative to public insurance) had lower odds of clinically important injuries. When evaluating individual components within the composite outcome, most followed broader trends. Conclusion: Dog bites are an important mechanism of injury encountered in children’s hospitals. Using a composite outcome measure, we identified younger, White, non-Hispanic children at higher risk of clinically significant injuries. Findings with respect to race and ethnicity and dog bite injuries warrant further investigation. Results can be used to identify populations for targeted prevention efforts to reduce severe dog bite injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number55
JournalInjury Epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Accidental injuries
  • Bites and stings
  • Dogs
  • Emergency service
  • hospital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Pediatric patients with dog bites presenting to US children’s hospitals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this