Our dogs are generally considered to be family members that provide us with a sense of happiness and companionship. They have been proven to reduce stress, increase exercise levels, and act as playmates for children; however, sometimes dogs can become aggressive and bite. Of the individuals who get bit, one in five require medical attention.
If you get bit by a dog, it’s important to take action so you don’t face any severe injuries or illnesses. For a minor wound, you should wash the area with soap and water, apply an antibiotic cream, and keep the wound covered with a clean bandage.
In the event your dog bite wound is more serious, you should seek medical attention. This is especially true if you can’t get the wound to stop bleeding, the area becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen, or if you develop a fever. If you choose not to seek medical attention you could put yourself at risk for contracting the following illnesses:
Rabies. Rabies is one of the most serious diseases someone can contract from a dog bite. Rabies affects the brain and is almost always fatal when symptoms begin to manifest. The virus is spread through the dog’s saliva. The best way to prevent the spread of rabies is by vaccinating dogs. Your doctor will determine if it’s necessary for you to get a rabies shot after being bitten.
Capnocytophaga Bacteria. Capnocytophaga bacteria lives in the mouths of people, dogs, and cats. While rare, this bacteria can be spread through a dog bite. As a result, the victim may experience a weakened immune system.
Pasteurella. Pasteurella is a type of bacteria that is seen in a majority of infected dog bite wounds. The bacteria typically cause the wound to become red and painful. Some individuals may experience swollen glands, inflamed joints, and difficulty moving.
MRSA. While animals can carry MRSA without showing any signs, a person can develop skin, lung, and urinary tract infections if bitten by an infected dog.
Tetanus. Some individuals who sustain dog bites may be exposed to tetanus. This toxin can cause paralysis and can present as a problem in individuals with deep bite wounds.
It’s important to remember that if you seek the proper medical attention after a dog bite, you will not be as likely to contract the illnesses listed above. If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog and you’re looking to seek legal advice, our Columbia, SC dog bite lawyers are prepared to answer your questions.