One day it will happen. You will get bitten. We know it can happen and we do everything we can to avoid it, but in the end it will happen. Eventually. So, we now know it will happen and we just HOPE it will not happen that the bite is to the face. We REALLY pray it won’t be to the mouth, and even more we pray it won’t be a horribly disfiguring bite.
My luck ran out on August 18, 2009. I was getting ready to groom Cookie, a larger cocker mix that is 13 years old. I had her on the table, supporting her body fully, not pulling or tugging. I sat her on the table and reached to move a pair of shears that were falling. She lunged at me and bit my mouth. More precisely she bit my upper lip. Split it in three places and tore up the inside of the upper lip as well.
I saw no signs this was coming until she had my upper lip in her mouth. Stunned, I grabbed a towel off the table and ran to the bathroom to see how much damage was done. I had Tiffany, who knew NOTHING of what had happened move the dog. She thought I was getting sick, but she put Cookie up and then came running to check on me.
I had that much damage done to my lip in a split second.
I managed to call the owner of the dog and fill them in and they were WONDERFUL. Concerned, offering to pay, very kind and very much the kind of owner this should not happen to. They even offered to pay my medical bills IMMEDIATLEY. Not once did they ask me what happened, or what did I do to cause it. They asked “are you OK” and “What can we do to help YOU?” The perfect way for this to happen.
Tiffany then called all my clients for the say and rescheduled pick up times for 2 hours later than they were scheduled while I headed for Convenient Care to get stitched up. I was seen pretty quickly and have to say that the Lidocaine injections hurt worse than the actual bite did. 7-8 stitches later I was back at work with the bruising beginning.
I went for my check up in two days as prescribed, and the doctor on call really irked me. She was not the one who put in the stitches, and even though he had told me that some of the stitches could come out in two days she said “NO, they stay for ten days”. Well, considering I had a girl get bitten rather severely in the lip last year and the plastic surgeon that reattached her lip took hers out in 4 or 5 days, I knew she was wrong.
Fortunately the same plastic surgeon is a client and I called him. He said “NO NO NO” to leaving them in so long. He said that if you leave them in that long you WILL scar badly. Facial stitches, especially on the mouth, are usually removed within 5 days. His reasoning? If they stay in longer they adhere and they imbed and as a result they leave scars. If you take them out before that happens, and only after the skin has started to heal together, you will greatly reduce the scarring that occurs.
He also instructed me in self massage to break up the adhesions that occur when a lip is stitched together and therefore reduce stippling, buckling and again MINIMIZE SCARRING. It hurts, so you start out with just as much as you can stand and get longer with the massage over the next few days.
I have very little scarring as we speak just a few weeks after the bite.
I feel so grateful for the care I received in this case. I came out better than many would have as a result.
I do not want to tell you what to do in the case of a facial bite, but PLEASE, make the call to a plastic surgeon if you don’t see one to begin with! That can mean all the difference between healing correctly and not healing well.
My point to this article is that if you are not sure that your doctor is giving you correct information, then get a second opinion. In the case of a facial bite, you really want the best care you can get, and if your insurance will not pay for it, pay out of pocket to go to a specialist. It is critical that you get proper care to minimize damage in the long term.