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We reviewed the charts of 59 pediatric and adult patients hospitalized because of animal bites (46 dog bites, 10 cat bites, 3 monkey bites). The bites of 40 of the 59 patients were infected at the time of admission. Gram-stained specimens correctly predicted the infecting bacteria in only 5 of 20 cases. Eighty-three percent of the bacterial isolates were penicillin-susceptible. Before admission 14 patients had received outpatient antibiotic prophylaxis and the infections in 11 of these 14 patients were caused by bacteria susceptible to the prophylactic antibiotic. Complications were more common if antimicrobial therapy had not been altered according to susceptibility testing results. Of the 59 patients 19 were admitted immediately after being bitten because of severe uninfected bites. Of these 19 patients 18 received prophylactic antibiotics and none developed a serious complication.