That Bites! When Animals, Bugs & People Attack!

Fanged by a Feline

Molly, a 23-year-old writer from Brooklyn, New York, was playing with her cat when it nipped her on the top of her hand – a playful yet puncturing bite. Molly cleaned the wound and thought nothing more of it until the following morning. When she woke up, her hand was throbbing and swollen.

Molly applied ice to the area but the pain and swelling would not subside. Later that day, she took a picture of her hand, explaining what had happened, and emailed it to her doctor. Minutes later, her doctor called her back and instructed her to report to the emergency room immediately.

In the ER, Molly was given antibiotics and painkillers and sent home; but over the course of the next day, the redness and inflammation in her hand worsened. Molly returned to the E.R. where doctors put her on an IV drip and monitored her hand through the night. Molly was informed that if the swelling did not go down, she would need surgery.

The following day, doctors confirmed the need to operate or the tendons in her hand would incur permanent damage. During the surgery, Molly was diagnosed with tenosynovitis, a condition where tendon sheaths in the hand deteriorate from infection.

“Up to 80 percent of cat bites will become infected,” explains ER physician Dr. Travis Stork.

“Cat fangs are so sharp and long. It’s like injecting bacteria in with a hypodermic needle,” plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon adds.

Deadly Dangers of Rabies

If you’re ever bitten by an animal, the chance of rabies setting in is greater than you might think. Each year, rabies kills approximately 55,000 people worldwide!

Learn the symptoms of the deadly virus, the importance of expedient treatment and how to spot the telltale signs of a rabid animal.

Snake Bites
“Almost five million snake bites occur worldwide each year that cause up to 125 thousand deaths,” Dr. Travis says. “Not knowing what to do can quickly turn you into a statistic.”

The Doctors are joined by professional snake wrangler Jules Sylvester to help explain snake bites and behavior.

Learn how the two types of snake venom, hemotoxin and neurotoxin, affect the body.

Jules performs a dangerous stunt as he “milks” venom from a rattlesnake! Watch what happens when the venom mixes with fresh blood.

Jules explains the emergency action plan if you’re bitten by a poisonous serpent.

  • Witness Dr. Travis' snake phobia!

    Scared Stiff?

    Arachnophobia, fear of spiders, is perhaps the most common example of an animal-based phobia; however, what if a certain spider could actually enhance your performance in the bedroom? Would it be worth overcoming your fear?

    A toxin synthesized from the venom of the Brazilian wandering spider is being tested in laboratories, and has had positive results on animals with hypertension, diabetes and age-related erectile dysfunction. The toxin, called PnTx2-6, causes unrelenting and painful erections in men who are bitten. Researchers are now testing synthetic compounds of the spider’s venom to regulate its effects and potentially create an alternative ED treatment. More studies must be conducted before the toxin is tested in humans.

Treating Bug Bites

Ever wonder why bug bites itch so much? Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban gives her top tips on identifying particular insect bites. Plus, learn the best medicinal treatments and home remedies for relieving the inflammation and irritation.

Dr. Shamban explains that, first and foremost, washing your hands and washing the bitten area with a mild soap is crucial to prevent bacteria from entering the body through the bite mark.

Intraoral Bites
Dentist and co-host of the Portuguese version of The Doctors Dr. Miguel Stanley explains why accidentally biting your cheek or tongue hurts so much.

“Our masseter muscles, our bite muscles, are some of the strongest muscles in the body, so we can really damage ourselves when biting [or] chewing,” Dr. Stanley explains. “The anatomy of your mouth has a lot to do with it. If you have an overbite, a crossbite, or if your tongue is a bit larger than what the oral cavity allows, this problem tends to happen more,” he adds.

Dr. Stanley explains that repeated bite wounds inside the mouth can develop into lesions, and how studies show a direct correlation between oral lesions and cancer. Swelling can also occur as a result of a bite on the cheek, tongue or lip. To reduce inflammation, Dr. Stanley recommends eating ice cream!

“Ice cream does have sugar in it, so do brush your teeth afterwards, and please don’t go biting your tongue or your lip just so you can have ice cream,” Dr. Stanley adds.

Jaw-Dropping Jaws

News reports usually cover when a shark attack occurs, but what about when other sea creatures decide to take a bite out of humans? Comedian Chelsea Handler recently revealed on her talk show, Chelsea Lately, that she was bitten by a sea lion!

Education Director at Pacific Marine Mammal Center Kelli Lewis explains what people should do if they encounter a sea lion.

“Sea lions are predators, but they’re after fish; they’re not after human beings,” Kelli says. “They’re really rarely aggressive. The only times we really see that is if they feel like they’re defending their territory, or if they feel like they’re going after a food source,” she adds.

The Lowdown on Lice

The Doctors and USA Weekend

The Doctors have an exciting partnership with USA Weekend magazine as the exclusive medical contributors to its weekly HealthSmart column!

Will mayonnaise and olive oil get rid of head lice? Do lice prefer dirty hair? Are they building a resistance to lice shampoos?

The Doctors are joined by lice expert and co-founder of Fairy Tales Hair Care Line Risa Barash to help distinguish myth from reality regarding head lice. Plus, see which herbal home remedies may help prevent a lice infestation.

Breast-feeding Bites

Sadie from El Paso, Texas writes:
What is the best way to deal with breastfeeding bites? Is the biting normal? I want to keep breastfeeding my little one, but it’s becoming a painful experience! Help!

“It’s very common; babies of different ages will do this,” Dr. Sears says. “Sometimes, just talking to [the] baby while you’re nursing, or keeping eye contact will keep the baby’s attention off clamping down. Now, if it’s a younger baby, more of the newborn category, you’re talking about maybe an improper latch-on.”

The Doctors discuss breast-feeding tips and products like Lanolin cream and Booby Tubes, which can help alleviate the pain.