Objective Dog bites can cause a spectrum of injuries, from lacerations to avulsions and crush injuries. In recent years, it has become more and more apparent that dog bites are a serious and often underestimated public health problem in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Methods The standard medical treatment of dog bites at our department consists of meticulous wound cleaning and closure of gaping wounds. Surgical closure was indicated when a firm wound closure without a suture was not possible. Childrens’ charts were analysed for personal data, type of injury and clinical course.
Results Children who were younger than 4 years sustained significantly more attacks by small dogs compared with older children. The incidence was highest in 3-year-old patients and decreased with increasing age. A seasonal fluctuation was detected: a majority of the children were injured in the summer months and peak incidence occurred during July. Complications occurred in 13% of children.
Discussion In agreement with previous publications, our data showed that the most common area targeted by dogs was hands and legs, reflecting the closer proximity of the child’s head to the attacking dog. Unfortunately, three of the children included in this report died.
Conclusions Children who are younger than 12 years represent the high-risk group for dog attacks. Parents and children should be educated regarding behaviour around animals—dogs, especially those that are unfamiliar to the child. Encourage local leash laws and reporting of bites, and educate the public about responsible dog selection, ownership, and training.