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Dog bites and diabetic peripheral neuropathy: a dangerous combination


All animal bites have the potential to cause significant infection. In the UK, dogs are the most common source of bites. Incidence of hospital attendances attributable to dog bites has risen over the last decade. Patient groups at particular risk of bites and/or complications of infection include those at extremes of age, immunosuppressed and patients with diabetes. We report the case of a patient with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, who was admitted on two separate occasions with unprovoked bites to his toes whilst asleep, by his pet dog. He ultimately required terminalisation of the affected digits. Although unusual, this mechanism of injury has been previously described in literature. However, we are unaware of cases reporting multiple separate incidences involving the same patient and animal. We present this case to highlight the perils of untrained pet ownership in diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy and the importance of prompt medical and surgical treatment of injuries.

  • diabetes
  • wound care
  • plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • infections
  • bone and joint infections
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