Health risks to humans

It is estimated that 1.5 percent of the US population, 4.7 million people, are bitten each year.[77] In the 1980s and 1990s the US averaged 17 fatalities per year, while in the 2000s this has increased to 26.[78] 77% of dog bites are from the pet of family or friends, and 50% of attacks occur on the dog owner's property.[78] A Colorado study found bites in children were less severe than bites in adults.[79] The incidence of dog bites in the U.S. is 12.9 per 10,000 inhabitants, but for boys aged 5 to 9, the incidence rate is 60.7 per 10,000. Moreover, children have a much higher chance to be bitten in the face or neck.[80] Sharp claws with powerful muscles behind them can lacerate flesh in a scratch that can lead to serious infections.[81] In the UK between 2003 and 2004, there were 5,868 dog attacks on humans, resulting in 5,770 working days lost in sick leave.[82] In the United States, cats and dogs are a factor in more than 86,000 falls each year.[83] It has been estimated around 2% of dog-related injuries treated in UK hospitals are domestic accidents. The same study found that while dog involvement in road traffic accidents was difficult to quantify, dog-associated road accidents involving injury more commonly involved two-wheeled vehicles.[84] Toxocara canis (dog roundworm) eggs in dog feces can cause toxocariasis. In the United States, about 10,000 cases of Toxocara infection are reported in humans each year, and almost 14% of the U.S. population is infected.[85] In Great Britain, 24% of soil samples taken from public parks contained T. canis eggs.[86] Untreated toxocariasis can cause retinal damage and decreased vision.[86] Dog feces can also contain hookworms that cause cutaneous larva migrans in humans. Dog attacks are attacks on humans by feral or domestic dogs. With the close association of dogs and humans in daily life (largely as pets), dog attacks — with injuries from very minor to significant (severe to fatal) — are extremely common, with fifty percent of the payout of home insurance due to attacks committed by homeowners' dogs. Attacks on the serious end of the spectrum have become the focus of increasing media and public attention in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.[2] It is estimated that two percent of the US population, 4.7 million people, are bitten each year.[3] In the 1980s and 1990s the US averaged 17 fatalities per year, while in the 2000s this has increased to 26.[4] 77% of dog bites are from the pet of family or friends, and 50% of attacks occur on the dog owner's property.[4] There is considerable debate on whether or not certain breeds of dogs are inherently more prone to commit attacks causing serious injury (i.e., so driven by

nstinct and breeding that, under certain circumstances, they are exceedingly likely to attempt or commit dangerous attacks). Regardless of the breed of the dog, it is recognized that the risk of dangerous dog attacks can be greatly increased by human actions (such as neglect or fight training) or inactions (as carelessness in confinement and control). A person bitten by an animal potentially carrying parvovirus or rabies virus should consult a medical doctor immediately. A bite victim may also incur serious bacterial infections of soft tissues or bone (osteomyelitis) which can become life threatening if untreated, whether or not the animal has parvovirus or rabies virus. Despite domestication, dogs, like their ancestors wolves, remain cunning, swift, agile, strong, territorial and voracious—even small ones have large, sharp teeth and claws and powerful muscles in their jaws and legs and can inflict serious injuries. The lacerations even from inadvertent dog scratches, let alone deliberate or reckless bites, are easily infected (most commonly by Capnocytophaga ochracea or Pasteurella multocida). Medium-to-large dogs can knock people down with the usual effects of falls from other causes. Should affection or mutual respect not exist (as with feral dogs), should a dog be conditioned to become an attacker, or should someone intrude upon a dog's territory and pose a threat, then the natural tendencies of a predator manifest themselves in a dog attack in which the dog uses its predatory abilities to defend itself. Extrication from such an attack is difficult because of the dog's power and agility. Flight from a dog attack by running is usually impossible. Education for adults and children, animal training, selective breeding for temperament, and society's intolerance for dangerous animals combine to reduce the incidence of attacks and accidents involving humans and dogs. However, improperly managed confrontations can lead to severe injury from even the most well-tempered dog. Stiffened front legs and a raised ridge of hair along the spine can be signs of an imminent attack (as well as of interest, or anxiety and the start of the dog's "fight or flight" mechanism). A wagging tail often is an attempt to communicate excitement, though a tail held high over the back can signal the dog becoming aroused - either for what humans see as for positive or negative reasons. Dogs also have far superior hearing and olfactory senses than humans, as well as having the advantage of reading the body language of other humans and animals, and so are able to pick up signs which we humans may miss were they to come from a dog, or may not have learned to read (or may even misunderstand) in dogs.