In the United States, about one percent of all injury-related visits to the emergency room are related to dog bites.
Many dog bite patients are treated for open wounds and gashes on the skin, but some bites can lead to serious infections. Here is a list of some of the most common infections caused by dog bites, including spotting the symptoms and getting treated.
Pasteurella multocida and Pasteurella canis are bacterial organisms that can live in dogs’ mouths. 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. Symptoms can include redness, swelling, tenderness around the bite, and 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
- Eye infections
- Urinary tract infections
- Blood infections
Cellulitis usually requires a seven to ten-day treatment period with antibacterial medicines, including amoxicillin and penicillin. A doctor may also drain and clean a patient’s wounds or use intravenous antibacterials if the infection is severe.
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Staph and Strep Infections
Dog bites can also lead to staph and strep infections. These are serious conditions caused by staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria. Symptoms of a staph or strep infection vary widely and 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.
While rare, dog bites may also cause Capnocytophaga infections by transmitting the bacteria Capnocytophaga canimorsus. Those infected may experience flu-like symptoms like fever, vomiting, and headache. Some experience rashes too.
Patients may suffer from sepsis, a life-threatening condition requiring immediate medical attention in the most severe cases.
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. Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics to treat Capnocytophaga infections.
Dog Bites Can Also Cause Rabies
Rabies is a viral disease usually transmitted by a rabid animal through a scratch or a bite. According to the Centers 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 progresses, symptoms can get worse. Some of the symptoms of advanced rabies may include:
- Partial paralysis
- 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 ten 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.
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Potential Compensation for a Dog Bite
If you suffered a serious infection due to a dog bite, you could be due compensation for your medical bills and treatment. Other damages may also apply. It all depends on the extent of your injuries and how they affect your life. For example, severe infections can cause medical complications that require long-term treatment.
You may stand to recover:
- Current medical expenses, such as an emergency room visit, medications, and hospitalization
- Ongoing medical expenses
- Lost wages if you had to take time off work to heal
- Reduced earning capacity if you cannot return to work
- Loss of quality of life if you suffered a permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
We can calculate your damages and fight for fair compensation.
How a Lawyer from Our Firm Can Help
After suffering a dog bite, you deserve to rest and recover from your injuries. Our personal injury lawyers can handle everything else. We offer comprehensive legal services.
We Can Investigate Your Case
We can investigate your case and gather evidence of a dog owner’s negligence. For example, we might look into the dog’s history to determine if it bit anyone before.
We Can Negotiate a Settlement
In some cases, a homeowner’s insurance policy covers dog bites. We can file your claim and negotiate a fair settlement with insurers. We can also prevent you from accepting an offer that wouldn’t fairly cover your losses.
We Can Represent You in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
In other cases, a dog bite victim’s only opportunity to recover compensation involves filing a personal injury lawsuit. This usually occurs when a dog owner does not carry insurance coverage for dog bites. We can file your lawsuit, handle all the necessary paperwork, and communicate with the liable party.
We can also represent you in a trial if your case does not resolve during settlement negotiations. We can present our evidence to a judge or jury and seek a court-awarded offer.
We Can Keep You Updated Every Step of the Way
Our team can keep you informed when handling your dog bite case with regular updates. We can make ourselves available to answer any questions throughout the legal process.
Learn About Your Options During a Free Consultation
You probably have questions about your rights after you or your child suffers injuries from a dog bite. Our firm offers free consultations to discuss your case and discover your legal options. You may find that you stand to recover more than you thought.
We can explain how one of our personal injury lawyers can handle your case. There is no obligation to work with our firm when you call, either. If you choose to hire one of our lawyers, we can get to work immediately on your case to help you meet relevant deadlines.
Bressman Law Can Handle Your Dog Bite Case
Dog bite injuries can be severe, requiring expensive medical treatment. You should not have to foot the bill due to a negligent dog owner. You also don’t have to handle your claim or lawsuit alone. Our lawyers can fight for fair compensation while you rest and recover.
If you live in Ohio, Bressman Law could help get you the financial support you deserve for your injuries. Call us now at (877) 538-1116 to access your free consultation today.