More people admitted to hospital after dog injuries

image captionThe highest number of dog attacks was seen in the north west

Hospital admissions for serious dog-related injuries rose by 5% in England last year, according to NHS data.

There were 6,120 hospital admissions from May 2010 to April 2011, up from 5,810 the previous year, figures from The NHS Information Centre show.

One in six dog injury admissions in the year up to April involved a child aged under 10.

A spokesman for the NHS Information Centre said summer was a "seasonal hotspot" for dog injuries.

Incidents of people being bitten or struck by dogs peaked in April this year with 640 admissions - the highest monthly figure for two years.

The north west had the highest number of admissions for dog bites or other injuries, with 1,090.

The report also shows that dog-related injuries accounted for about half of all the 12,410 admissions caused by being bitten or struck by various creatures in the 12 months to April 2011.

Other creatures

The NHS Information Centre data also shows there was a 19% rise - from 3,040 to 3,620 - in admissions caused by bites or stings from non-venomous insects such as bedbugs, mosquitoes and fleas, compared with the previous year, with Londoners experiencing the highest rate of incidents.

And there were 2,560 admissions due to people being bitten or struck by other animals including cows, horses and pigs - up 8% on 2009/10. The south west reported the highest rate of such incidents.

Overall hospital admissions rose by 1.8% in the period studied.

Tim Straughan, NHS Information Centre chief executive, said: "Our statistics show that the summer is a seasonal hotspot for admissions to hospital for injuries caused by dogs.

"However, the same timeframe also saw an increase in admissions for injuries inflicted by other creatures - from bugs and horses to cows and pigs.

"It is also perhaps surprising to some that a bite or sting from a non venomous insect can be so severe it can result in admission to hospital - but clearly this was the case for some 3,620 admissions in the 12 months to April 2011."

Sheila Merrill, public health adviser for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said: "Owners are ultimately responsible for making sure that their pet does not pose a risk to other people.

"That means making sure that the animal is properly trained and restrained - where appropriate - and understanding what causes the animal to feel stressed, and therefore more likely to injure by biting or scratching.

"However placid you think your pet is you should never leave it alone with a small child."

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