Dog bites are not only painful, but they can also cause serious and even life-threatening diseases. A dog’s mouth is a thriving environment for bacteria, some of which can be very dangerous when transmitted into the human body during an attack. If you or a loved one has experienced a dog bite, it’s crucial to understand the potential health risks and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Signs That a Dog Bite Is Infected
When dogs bite, their saliva, which is teeming with bacteria, enters the wound. While some bacteria are relatively harmless, others can cause serious infections. These bacteria can multiply rapidly, especially in the warm, moist environment of a wound.
An infected dog bite can cause localized redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. The wound might ooze pus, and there could be red streaks leading away from the area of the bite. Additionally, a person might experience fever and swollen lymph nodes. Any of these signs should be treated as a serious concern, and immediate medical attention is recommended.
Disease #1: Cellulitis
Pasteurella multocida and Pasteurella canis, commonly found in the mouths of dogs, can lead to cellulitis when transmitted through a bite. Symptoms often appear within 24 hours of the bite, including redness, swelling, tenderness, and pus discharge. Treatment usually involves a course of antibiotics like amoxicillin and penicillin.
Cellulitis can spread rapidly, especially in children, and might lead to complications such as:
- Joint, bone, and tendon infections
- Weakness and numbness
- Skin discoloration
- Eye infections
- Urinary tract infections
- Blood infections.
Disease #2: Rabies
Rabies, transmitted through a bite or scratch from an infected animal, is a viral infection that progresses to fatal inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Early symptoms include mild fevers, headaches, lethargy, and weakness.
As rabies advances, it might result in complications such as:
- Hydrophobia, or a fear of water.
Without timely intervention, a rabies infection is nearly always fatal. If you are bitten by a dog and suspect that it may be rabid, the animal should be monitored for up to 10 days for signs of rabies. If the animal shows symptoms, immediate testing and vaccination are required.
Disease #3: Staph Infections
Staphylococcus bacteria are ubiquitous and can be found on the skin of many dogs and humans. However, when introduced deep into a wound, they can lead to a severe infection. Symptoms can range from oozing blisters and boils to more severe conditions like sepsis if the bacteria enter the bloodstream. Certain strains of staph, like MRSA, are resistant to several commonly used antibiotics, making treatment more challenging.
Seeking Compensation for a Dog Bite Injury
If you are diagnosed with a disease after a dog bite injury, the complications can multiply. In addition to the physical and emotional trauma, dog bite injuries can result in significant financial burdens from medical bills, lost wages, and other associated costs. Recovering from a serious disease while enduring these damages can be even more challenging.
In these situations, you may be entitled to financial compensation via a lawsuit against the dog’s owner. A Washington dog bite attorney can help you understand your legal options and hold the animal’s owner accountable. As soon as possible after the incident, contact a lawyer from Colburn Law to discuss your case and begin filing your lawsuit.