Dog Bite Infection Lawsuits, Lawyers and Compensation
Each year, dogs bite millions of individuals: one out of every five of those individuals will need medical attention for their bite. A dog’s sharp teeth are not necessarily the dog’s most potent weapon. A deep dog bite can cause a serious bacterial infection-requiring medical attention and, in some severe cases, surgical intervention. A person who contracts rabies can also face serious medical complications if he or she does not obtain medical care and treatment. Infections from dog bites can prolong the pain and suffering of a dog bite victim, result in the temporary (or, in some extreme cases, permanent) loss of use of a limb, and result in hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars in medical-related expenses.
Signs of a Dog Bite Infection
A person is statistically more likely to develop an infection following a cat bite than a bite from a dog. This is not to say that no dog bite ever results in an infection, however. Approximately one out of every one hundred dog bites will develop some sort of infection. Infections occur because of bacteria present in the saliva of the dog that enter a person’s body and bloodstream as the result of a bite. Signs that a bite is developing an infection include:
- The presence of pus or other fluid in the bite wound;
- Red “streaks” and/or tenderness near the bite wound;
- Loss of sensation and/or ability to move the affected limb;
- Fever, chills, and other flu-like symptoms;
- Muscle weakness;
- Redness or red “streaks” emanating from the site of the bite.
Bites to the hands and fingers or other “bony” parts of the body have a higher risk of developing an infection as the body has a more difficult time fighting infections in these locations due to the absence of blood vessels as compared to other parts. Signs of an infection may be noticeable right away, but commonly appear within 24 to 48 hours after a bite.
Dog Bites Can Result in Serious Infections
Two of the more serious diseases that can be transmitted through a dog bite include tetanus and rabies:
- Tetanus is a rare but potentially fatal bacterial infection. Tetanus affects the nervous system and can lead to muscle spasms and (in extreme cases) death. As the muscles spasm, they constrict and tighten and can make it difficult – or impossible – for the affected person to open his or her mouth. Because there is a vaccine for this condition, new cases of tetanus are extremely rare in the United States (approximately 1,000 new cases per year). Tetanus is especially likely to occur as the result of deep puncture wounds, such as those that can result from a dog bite.
- Rabies is a viral infection that can also be transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. In many cases involving the spread of rabies from a dog bite to a human, the dog was first bitten by a skunk, fox, raccoon, bat, or other rabid animal. If the dog has not received a rabies vaccination, the dog may become a carrier of the disease. Humans who are bitten and become infected with rabies will begin to exhibit flu-like symptoms before exhibiting other symptoms like insomnia, confusion, and/or paralysis. Once the more rabies-specific symptoms set in, death usually follows within a matter of days.
Infections resulting from dog bites can be treated, and a person’s prognosis usually improves significantly if medical attention is sought promptly. Once bitten, a dog bite victim should attend to any life-threatening complications (such as profuse bleeding) and summon emergency medical assistance, if necessary. If the wound is not life-threatening, the wound should be thoroughly washed with soap and water. Medical attention may be necessary if:
- You are not familiar with the dog that big you or are unsure if the dog has been vaccinated for rabies;
- The wound is deep and/or you cannot control the bleeding;
- The dog that bit you is exhibiting signs or symptoms of rabies (i.e., hypersalivation or foaming at the mouth, lack of coordination, seizures, and/or unusual aggression).
When to See a Dog Bite Attorney for Help
Your health and the health of your loved ones ought to be your primary concern after a dog bite. Nonetheless, you should also speak with an experienced dog bite attorney as soon as possible if another’s dog was responsible for the bite. Since dog bite infections can spread and/or become more severe if prompt medical treatment is not obtained, the costs associated with treating a dog bite infection – medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses – can quickly escalate.
Stern Law, PLLC is your dog bite infection attorney. Attorney Ken Sterns can help you understand the rights you have under your state’s laws if another person’s dog attacks you and causes an infection. Call Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 and begin the recovery process today.