FORGET spiders, snakes or sharks, apparently it's man's best friend you have to look out for.
Dogs have topped the list in the New England North West for the most paramedic call-outs relating to animal injuries.
In fact it appears that the humble household pet is responsible for the vast majority of animal-related injuries to humans, with figures released by the Ambulance Service of NSW yesterday, revealing injuries from dogs, cats and horses formed the majority of call-outs by paramedics.
In the five months since September 2012 to the end of January 2013, New England North West paramedics treated 5 dog attacks or bites, a horse bite at Tamworth and even a cat attack at Armidale.
Across NSW, paramedics treated at least 237 people for dog bites and 22 people for incidents involving cats.
Even guinea pigs came up for mention, with two people treated for bite wounds.
Horses accounted for 15 responses for kicking, rolling on or biting a person while it was farmers bearing the brunt of horse-related injuries, accounting for nine of those call-outs.
More obscure attacks involved stingrays, two attacks by sharks, one by a water buffalo and one blue-ringed octopus.
Other attacks reported across NSW involved guinea pigs, kangaroos, goannas, rats and water buffalo.
An Ambulance Service of NSW spokesperson advised that puncture wounds caused by an animal should always be assessed and cleaned by a health care professional.
"Cleaning is important because animals come into contact with undesirable bacteria and germs which can be transferred through their claws and teeth and cause serious health issues such as tetanus," the spokesperson said.
"As a rule, all animal bites will require an Adult Diphtheria and Tetanus (ADT) vaccination."
The spokesperson said elderly people in particular can suffer particularly serious injury from scratches caused by any animal, due to skin thinning in older age.
"Not all injuries will require an emergency paramedic response, many people should be able to make their own way to a doctor.
"Of course, if the injury is serious, do not hesitate to call a Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance."