Dog bite hospital admissions on the rise – especially among children
Three-quarters of children admitted to hospital for dog attack injuries needed surgery



09:32 GMT, 10 August 2012

Hospital admissions for injuries caused by dogs rose by 5.2 per cent in England last year, with young children suffering the most wounds.

New figures revealed that 6,450 people were admitted in the 12 months to April 2012, up from 6,130 the year before.

Children aged under 10 were the worst-affected group, accounting for one in six of admissions. Three-quarters of them needed surgery, according to the data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

Aggressive: Dog attacks are on the rise as the government considers micro-chipping all pets

Aggressive: Dog attacks are on the rise as the government considers micro-chipping all puppies

Of the 1,040 admissions for this group of youngsters, 494 were for plastic surgery and 278 were to the
oral and facial surgery unit.

Among adults the rate of admissions to the trauma and orthopaedic treatment speciality was more than triple that of under-10s.

Admissions following dog bites and strikes were highest in the north east with 551 cases (21 per 100,000). They were lowest in London with 299 admissions (seven per 100,000).

The figures also showed that admission rates for men were similar between the ages of 10 and 45 and then decreased with increasing age.

The figures from HSCIC, formerly The NHS Information Centre, did not include cases where the patient was solely dealt with in A&E.

However, NHS data released a few months ago revealed dogs bite cases in casualty departments reached 6,097 in the year to the end of March 2011. This is up 94 per cent compared to a decade earlier.

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: 'Through further analysis, it is also possible to infer a likely distinction in the type of injuries sustained by child and adult victims of dog bites and strikes; with children having a higher rate of admission to the specialities that carry out plastic and specialist facial surgery.'

In the UK it is illegal to breed or own Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos and Fila Brazilieros. They were bred as aggressive fighting dogs.

It is also an offence for an owner to allow a dog of any breed 'to be dangerously out of control in a public place.'

The Government has recognised that dog attacks is a growing problem. In 2011 police seized 1,512 illegal dogs – up from just 27 five years earlier. Meanwhile attacks on guide dogs were now running at the rate of seven a month.

Earlier this year Environment Minister Lord Taylor announced plans to micro-chip every puppy to tackle the problem.

Ministers believe the plans will make it
easier for the police to trace the owners of violent dogs and strays, as
well as helping to home lost dogs.