A Chihuahua protecting its bone. Photographer'...

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We’ve dealt with dog bites and dog bite scars before.

Now, four organizations have joined forces to raise awareness during National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 15-21. It’s estimated that 4. 7 million people are bitten by dogs every year. Yet most dog bites are entirely preventable through training, proper control of dogs, and education.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM), and the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons (ASMS) are concerned about dog bite injuries among patients of all ages. Children are the most common victims, followed by seniors and mail carriers. Every year about 600,000 children require medical attention for dog bites.

“Half of all children will be bitten by a dog by the time they are high school seniors,” said John Fraser, MD, FAAP, an injury prevention specialist who will represent the Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics at the Houston event. “Every year about 600,000 children require medical attention for dog bites. As a pediatrician who has treated some of these kids, I want to do everything I can to prevent these injuries.”

Plastic surgeons, including reconstructive microsurgeons and maxillofacial surgeons, often treat victims of dog attacks and see firsthand how devastating these injuries can be. According to ASPS statistics, nearly 33,000 reconstructive procedures on dog bites were performed in 2010, up eight percent from 2009.

For more information and a brochure on dog bite prevention visit American Veterinary Medical Association web site.

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