Woman Bit by Labrador Receives First Partial Face Transplant

The American Veterinary Medical Association offers guidelines for preventing attacks from dogs.

Surgeons in France say they have performed the first partial face transplant on a 38-year-old woman who had been attacked by her Labrador in May.

The operation, which took place November 27 at a hospital in Amiens, northern France, involved grafting a nose, lips and chin from a donor who had been declared brain dead, reports the Chicago Tribune. At press time, no post-surgical problems had been reported. The woman did not blame her dog, one of the surgeons told the newspaper. It was an accident. She loved her dog, the surgeon says who added that the dog was euthanized and the patient has since acquired a new dog.

In the United States, dog bite victims that require medical attention number 500,000 to 1 million annually, and many more go unreported, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The AVMA offers these suggestions for dog owners: pet owners should consider behavior and suitability of a dog before adoption; make sure the dog is socialized; teach the dog basic commands; neuter pets; and be alert to signs of the dog feeling uncomfortable or aggressive.

Other tips suggested by the AVMA that may prevent or stop a dog attack include: do not run past a dog; never disturb a dog that is caring for puppies, sleeping or eating; if a dog approaches to sniff, stay still; remain calm if threatened by a dog; and if knocked to the ground, curl into a ball and protect the face.

For more information, please visit the American Veterinary Medical Association website.

Posted: Dec. 5, 2005, 3p.m. EST


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