Tetanus Risk to Unvaccinated Child Bitten by Dog? TIG? T? - Mothering Forums
Vaccinations > Tetanus Risk to Unvaccinated Child Bitten by Dog? TIG? T?
SummumBonum's Avatar SummumBonum 11:54 PM 01-21-2012

 

My soon to be 4-year-old son was bitten this evening by neighbor's indoor, well cared for, small-middle sized dog who has all vaccines.  Although rabies is of little concern, and we're taking care of infection with antibiotics, I'm worried about tetanus.
 
The wound seemed to be about a 0.5-1.0 cm penetration of the dog's canine tooth into my son's shoulder.  There was no external bleeding.  I washed outside and even cleaned externally with hydrogen peroxide thinking the oxygen would somehow kill the spores.  
 
My first concern was that the wound did not bleed out and there was no easy way to clean deep inside the wound, only outside.  The wound has already healed up in a matter of hours, which was a second concern now that there is a totally anaerobic environment for the anaerobic bacteria to thrive in.
 
My son does not have any tetanus vaccines.  
 
The urgent care doctor, after scolding me on my decision to not vaccinate my child, prescribed a course of Augmentin and told me to go as soon as possible to nearby children's hospital to have Tetanus Immunoglobulin (TIG) administered along with a Tetanus vaccine.
 
He informed me that the TIG would be available only in the ER at our local children's hospital.  I'd hate to have an ER visit for an intramuscular injection; isn't there another place this can be administered without all the ER hassle and cost?
 
I'm still struggling with whether to take him to get his TIG.  I thought I'd at least wait until the morning when my son would be well rested rather than making him suffer all night in the ER.  Is it critical to take him right away, or is there some window of time where we can go in (e.g. within 24 hours or 72 hours)?  I know there is a small risk that my son will even get tetanus but then there is a small risk that he will have a reaction to the TIG or vaccine.  Which risk do I want to confront?
 
Then after getting the TIG, what are the options?  Can I wait to give him the tetanus vaccine?  If I decide on the tetanus vaccine, can he get the tetanus-only (T) vaccine, or does he need to get a combined vaccine because that's all that's available?  If they have tetanus-only, is there a choice, and if so, which is best?   I know the choice varies by location and country.  I am in the Los Angeles, California, USA metropolitan area.
 
It's 11:00 p.m. right now and I'm on my way to pharmacy to get my son's antibiotic.  I'm still struggling on what to do next.  I decided on the vaccine-free route with my children, but I'm disappointed by the lack of support for those who are faced with decisions like this when their children are either sick with the disease the vaccines are intended to prevent or the children face a higher risk of contracting those diseases because of an incident such as the dog bite my son suffered.


emmy526's Avatar emmy526 06:32 AM 01-22-2012


Quote:
Originally Posted by SummumBonum View Post

 

My soon to be 4-year-old son was bitten this evening by neighbor's indoor, well cared for, small-middle sized dog who has all vaccines.  Although rabies is of little concern, and we're taking care of infection with antibiotics, I'm worried about tetanus.
 
The wound seemed to be about a 0.5-1.0 cm penetration of the dog's canine tooth into my son's shoulder.  There was no external bleeding.  I washed outside and even cleaned externally with hydrogen peroxide thinking the oxygen would somehow kill the spores.  
 
My first concern was that the wound did not bleed out and there was no easy way to clean deep inside the wound, only outside.  The wound has already healed up in a matter of hours, which was a second concern now that there is a totally anaerobic environment for the anaerobic bacteria to thrive in.
 
My son does not have any tetanus vaccines.  
 
The urgent care doctor, after scolding me on my decision to not vaccinate my child, prescribed a course of Augmentin and told me to go as soon as possible to nearby children's hospital to have Tetanus Immunoglobulin (TIG) administered along with a Tetanus vaccine.
 
He informed me that the TIG would be available only in the ER at our local children's hospital.  I'd hate to have an ER visit for an intramuscular injection; isn't there another place this can be administered without all the ER hassle and cost?
 
I'm still struggling with whether to take him to get his TIG.  I thought I'd at least wait until the morning when my son would be well rested rather than making him suffer all night in the ER.  Is it critical to take him right away, or is there some window of time where we can go in (e.g. within 24 hours or 72 hours)?  I know there is a small risk that my son will even get tetanus but then there is a small risk that he will have a reaction to the TIG or vaccine.  Which risk do I want to confront?
 
Then after getting the TIG, what are the options?  Can I wait to give him the tetanus vaccine?  If I decide on the tetanus vaccine, can he get the tetanus-only (T) vaccine, or does he need to get a combined vaccine because that's all that's available?  If they have tetanus-only, is there a choice, and if so, which is best?   I know the choice varies by location and country.  I am in the Los Angeles, California, USA metropolitan area.
 
It's 11:00 p.m. right now and I'm on my way to pharmacy to get my son's antibiotic.  I'm still struggling on what to do next.  I decided on the vaccine-free route with my children, but I'm disappointed by the lack of support for those who are faced with decisions like this when their children are either sick with the disease the vaccines are intended to prevent or the children face a higher risk of contracting those diseases because of an incident such as the dog bite my son suffered.


wouldnt' the dog have died from tetanus if  he had it?   i seriously doubt you have anything to worry about... the ER drs are great for scare tactics and fearmongering the uneducated person.   As long as the bite bled, you shouldn't have much to worry about.. there are less than 100 cases of tetanus in the USA per year and most are either in the elderly with poor circulation, or in drug using persons, using dirty needles.  

 


oliviajune's Avatar oliviajune 01:13 PM 01-22-2012

Better safe than sorry. I would get the vaccine....would you rather wait and if your child gets sick, you then have to pay an even higher hospital bill?


Ellie'sMom's Avatar Ellie'sMom 01:46 PM 01-22-2012


Quote:
Originally Posted by emmy526 View Post


wouldnt' the dog have died from tetanus if  he had it?  



Dogs can be carriers of tetanus. They do not necessarily have symptoms. As for the timing, I assume it is already morning now, so maybe you have gone in. If it was a 1 cm deep puncture wound which did not bleed, the reality is that this is a higher risk wound...no  fear-mongering intended! Only you can decide. TIG is not going to be available at a pediatrician. The only place outside the ER I can think of is a health department, maybe? It might be worth a call. Hugs, mama. No judgement here (and I am a healthcare provider). Sorry the UC doc was such a nimrod. 


Taximom5's Avatar Taximom5 01:57 PM 01-22-2012

If there was no bleeding, is there really anything to worry about?


Imakcerka 02:48 PM 01-22-2012

Is the dog vaccinated?  Was the bite reported?  All clinics will report the bite.  The owner will have to prove if the dog has it's vaccinations.  And it can get interesting from their.  DD1 was bitten by our dog.  Our dog was vaccinated however DD1 was not.  We followed the protocol and produced the information for our dog to the city as requested and quarantined our own dog.  DD1 is still alive and fine.  I did get her a tetanus shot after she stepped on a rusty nail out at a friends that thing went through her foot.  

 

 

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/163063.php

 

This gives some good info


purslaine's Avatar purslaine 07:49 AM 01-26-2012

I might take him in.  The lack of bleeding would concern me.  I think tetanus is found in feces as well, and dogs do lick themselves, etc.  I know the chances are low for tetanus, but tetanus is a scary disease.  Caveat:  I would research TIG, first.  

 

I would only consider the TIG, unless you had pre-existing  plans to get the DPT.

 

Whether or not you can get a tetanus shot alone is up in the air - and something you might choose to research - but do so after the crisis is over with a clear head.  

 

I see this thread is a few days old - any update?

 


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