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Arch Emerg Med. 1989 December; 6(4): 251–256.
PMCID: PMC1285624

A comparative double blind study of amoxycillin/clavulanate vs placebo in the prevention of infection after animal bites.


The value of prophylactic antibiotics in the treatment of animal bites is uncertain. A prospective double blind stratified trial was performed comparing a broad spectrum antibiotic amoxycillin/clavulanate with placebo in full thickness animal bite wounds in a series of 185 consecutive patients. In wounds less than 9 h old, no significant benefit was found with the antibiotic. In older wounds, presenting 9-24 h after injury, the infection rate was reduced significantly (P = 0.023), although the numbers were small. We recommend the use of such an antibiotic on wounds 9-24 h old and query its use in more recent injuries, unless tendons or joints are likely to be involved.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Brown CG, Ashton JJ. Dog bites: the controversy continues. Am J Emerg Med. 1985 Jan;3(1):83–84. [PubMed]
  • Callaham M. Prophylactic antibiotics in common dog bite wounds: a controlled study. Ann Emerg Med. 1980 Aug;9(8):410–414. [PubMed]
  • Elenbaas RM, McNabney WK, Robinson WA. Prophylactic oxacillin in dog bite wounds. Ann Emerg Med. 1982 May;11(5):248–251. [PubMed]
  • Hawkins J, Paris PM, Stewart RD. Mammalian bites. Rational approach to management. Postgrad Med. 1983 Jun;73(6):52–64. [PubMed]
  • Rosen RA. The use of antibiotics in the initial management of recent dog-bite wounds. Am J Emerg Med. 1985 Jan;3(1):19–23. [PubMed]
  • Snook R. Dog bites man. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982 Jan 30;284(6312):293–294. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Strassburg MA, Greenland S, Marron JA, Mahoney LE. Animal bites: patterns of treatment. Ann Emerg Med. 1981 Apr;10(4):193–197. [PubMed]

Articles from Archives of Emergency Medicine are provided here courtesy of BMJ Publishing Group