Three Dangerous Infections You Can Get From Dog Bites

In the United States, about one percent of all injury-related visits to the Emergency Room are related to dog bites.

While many dog bite patients are treated for open wounds and gashes on the skin, some bites are also are capable of leading to serious infections. Here is a list of some of the most common infections caused by dog bites, including how to spot the symptoms and get treated.


Rabies is a viral disease usually transmitted by a rabid animal through a scratch or a bite. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus “infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death.”

Early symptoms of rabies are generally mild and include fevers, headaches, and general weakness. However, as the disease worsens, symptoms can get progressively worse. Some of the symptoms of advanced rabies may include:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Partial paralysis
  • Hallucinations
  • Hydrophobia (fear of water)

Death often occurs within a few days in victims who experience the most serious symptoms. Anti-rabies vaccines can help prevent or treat rabies when the dog is unvaccinated or the dog’s vaccination status is unknown.

Animal control officials will likely observe the animal for up to 10 days to monitor for signs of rabies. If the dog displays signs of rabies, you should get vaccinated immediately. If the dog appears healthy and displays no signs of rabies, the victim may not require vaccination.

Pasteurella Infections  

Pasteurella multocida and Pasteurella canis

are bacterial organisms that live in the mouths of a significant number of dogs. When passed to a human through a bite, these bacteria can cause a serious infection known as cellulitis.

Cellulitis symptoms can show up after just 24 hours of the bite and include redness, swelling, and tenderness around the bite, as well as a discharge of pus from the wound.

If left untreated, the side effects can grow worse (especially in children) and lead to:

  • Infection in the joints, bones and tendons
  • Pneumonia
  • Eye infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Meningitis
  • Blood infections

Treating cases of cellulitis usually requires a seven to 10-day treatment period with anti-bacterial medicines, which often include amoxicillin and penicillin. A doctor may also drain and clean a patient’s wounds or use intravenous antibacterials if the infection is severe.

Staph and Strep Infections

Dog bites can also lead to staph infections and strep infections – a serious condition caused by staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria.

Symptoms of a staph or strep infection vary widely and can include fevers, joint swelling, and cellulitis, all depending on which part of the body the bacteria has invaded.

If you or your loved one experiences a fever, pus-filled blisters or painful, red skin after a dog bite, be sure to see a doctor immediately. A doctor may need to drain the pus from the area around the patient’s bite and treat them with antibiotics to halt the progression of the infection.

Capnocytophaga Infection 

While rare, dog bites may also cause capnocytophaga infections through the transmission of the bacteria Capnocytophaga canimorus. Those infected may experience flu-like symptoms like fever, vomiting, and headache. Some experience rashes too.

In the most severe cases, patients may suffer from sepsis, a life-threatening condition requiring immediate medical attention.

Medical attention after a dog bite is crucial, regardless of the severity and the presence of any symptoms. With quick treatment, many infections are easily treatable. Meanwhile, if you or someone you know has been the victim of a serious infection caused by a dog bite, you may be due compensation for your medical bills and treatment.

If you live in or near Dublin, Ohio, Bressman Law can help get you the financial support you deserve for your injuries. Call us now at 877-538-1116 to schedule your free consultation today.