Man’s best friend getting testy

 Dog bites that send humans to the hospital are on the upswing, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune. The number of people admitted to hospitals because of dog bites grew by 86 percent from 1993 to 2008 — 5,100 cases in 1993 and 9,500 in 2008.

An average of 866 people nationally go to a hospital emergency room daily and an average of 26 are admitted for their injuries, based on the 2008 data, said statisticians from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The analysis found that seniors and young children (especially those ages 5 to 9) are the most likely to be seriously injured by dog bites, and people in rural areas made four times as many emergency department visits for bites compared with urban dwellers.

Almost half of those hospitalized needed treatment for skin infection and 58 percent  needed a procedure, such as stitches, skin grafts or wound debridement. The average cost for a dog-bite hospitalization? An average of $18,200.

Americans own about 77.5 million dogs. Each year, approximately 4.5 million people are bitten, although most of the bites are not serious.

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