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Can a Dog Bite Cause an Infection?

Yes, dog bites can and often do cause infections. In addition, being bitten by a dog is often a traumatizing experience and one that can be made worse if you develop an infection. Below, we discuss what to do if a dog bites you and breaks the skin.

What to Do If a Dog Bites You

If a dog bites you, follow these seven steps from Cleveland Clinic:

  1. Wash the wound with soap and warm water for five to ten minutes.
  2. Apply a clean cloth to slow the bleeding.
  3. Apply antibiotic cream to the site of the wound.
  4. Wrap the wound in a sterile bandage.
  5. See your doctor.
  6. Change the bandage out several times a day after visiting the doctor.
  7. Watch for signs of infection.

We also recommend that you consult with a San Antonio dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. If the dog is loose, a lawyer can help find the owner and pursue compensation to help pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. San Antonio ordinances state that a pet owner is responsible for keeping their dog restrained at all times and preventing their dogs from biting or injuring anyone. We can help hold a negligent pet owner responsible for the harm they allowed their dog to cause.

Signs of an Infection

According to Cleveland Clinic, the presence of dog bite bacteria raises the risk of infection. If a dog bite pierces the skin, bacteria from the dog’s mouth can get into your body, potentially causing an infection. About 50 percent of dog bites introduce bacteria. In addition, unvaccinated dogs may carry rabies and other dangerous bacteria that can put your health in jeopardy. Your doctor will want to know the details about the dog that bit you, if possible. Dog bite treatment often centers upon preventing bacteria from entering your wound and causing an infection.

Signs of an infected dog bite include:

  • Redness and swelling around the wound
  • Continuing pain after 24 hours
  • A warm feeling around the wound
  • Difficulty moving the part of the body where the bite occurred
  • Drainage coming from the wound

The infection may have spread to other parts of your body if you experience fever, night sweats, or shaking.

Complications and Long-Term Effects from a Dog Bite

Some dog bite infections can be severe and lead to complications. Without medical intervention, some infections can even be fatal.

Some dog bites can lead to serious illnesses, such as:

  • Rabies, a potentially fatal outcome
  • Capnocytophaga, which can lead to kidney failure, gangrene, or heart attack
  • Sepsis, a life-threatening reaction to infection
  • Tetanus, a serious infection that causes cramping in the jaw, muscle stiffness, and muscle spasms Bottom of Form

When to See a Doctor

See your doctor following a dog bite if:

  • You have any of the symptoms of infection discussed above
  • You suspect the dog bite has damaged your nerves or bones
  • The dog that bit you is acting strangely
  • You have uncontrollable bleeding
  • The dog bite is a deep wound, and you have not had a tetanus shot within the last five years

How an Attorney Can Help

If you were bitten by a dog, the compassionate dog bite lawyers at Ketterman Rowland & Westlund can help. We can investigate your case and determine who is responsible for the injuries you have suffered. If necessary, we have the skills and resources to capably litigate your case. Contact us today for a free case review.