A North/South divide has emerged in new figures recording hospital admissions for dog attacks.

Researchers found rates of hospital admissions were three times higher for people from poor areas compared to their wealthier neighbours - Merseyside reported the highest number of incidents while Kent saw the lowest.

Out of every 100,000 people who live in the most deprived areas of England, there were 24 admitted to hospital because of a dog attack.

Meanwhile, in the richest regions there were eight admissions for every 100,000.

Admissions were lowest in Kent and Medway, where 5.3 out of every 100,000 people were admitted after a dog bite or strike, followed by Surrey and Sussex and London.

In Merseyside, 23.6 people out of every 100,000 had to endure a hospital stay.

In 2013, dog "bites and strikes" caused 6,740 hospital admissions in England - a 6% rise from the previous year, the Health and Social Care Information Centre said.

Children aged up to nine years old accounted for the highest number of admissions and the most common ailment was an injury to the wrist or hand.

The figures showed the number of hospital admissions as a result of other animal attacks was also on the rise.

Bites and strikes from other mammals such as horses, foxes and cats accounted for 2,970 admissions - a 10% increase compared to the previous 12 month period.

"Today's report shows that hospital admissions for bites and strikes by dogs are three times as high in the most deprived areas of England as in the least deprived areas," HSCIC chairman Kingsley Manning said.

"Our statistics also show that hospitals have dealt with more admissions for bites and strikes by mammals compared to last year.

"We know that dog bite rates are particularly high among young children.

"As we head towards the summer months, when admission rates for dog bites are at their highest, these trends may be worth further study by healthcare organisations and public sector bodies."