The reason behind nearly 50K ED visits in California

Dog bites led to more than 48,600 emergency room visits by California residents in 2022, KFF Health News reported Jan. 26. It's a trend that doesn't show any signs of easing anytime soon.

Not only is the trend increasing, since 2005 ER visits in the state due to dog bites have gone up 70%.

But even compared to 2021 ER visits due to dog bites in California, the incident rate increased 12% year-over-year in 2022. 

Most of the bites are happening in children and young adults, largely in rural parts of California, KFF Health News reported. 

Although the rates of dog and puppy adoptions were on the rise prior to the 2020 pandemic, the public health crisis and subsequent lockdown further propelled the dog-bite trend, with some experts saying the lockdown contributed to the proper socialization of the pets.

"You're supposed to socialize that puppy to new kinds of people, new kinds of animals, new kinds of places, new kinds of everything," Elizabeth Stelow, DVM, chief of the Behavior Service at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, told KFF Health News. "Nobody was able to do that. So we're seeing the effects of that all the time right now."

Increasing ER visits because of dog bites is not unique to California, a 2018 study revealed the number of dog bites being treated at the ED have been going up nationally since 2005.

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