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Dog bites: Complications can be devastating

| Sep 5, 2019 | Uncategorized |

Most people know and are familiar with at least a single dog. They’re common family pets, and you’d be hard-pressed to go anywhere where you’re not exposed to one.

The trouble with animals is that they can sometimes be unpredictable. Whether due to excitement, anger or fright, some dogs do bite and cause injuries to others.

While a single, clean bite might be nothing more than a puncture wound that requires a deep cleaning, there are some potential dangers of dog bites that you should know about. Complications can be devastating.

What are the complications that can arise from dog bites?

Bites can have a range of complications. Some possible complications of dog bites include:

  • Rabies infections
  • Tetanus infections
  • Pasteurella multocida infections
  • Staphylococcus aureus infections
  • Septic arthritis
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Soft-tissue infections
  • Nerve damage
  • Bleeding (and in a severe case, bleeding to death)

Both rabies and tetanus are among the most dangerous complications of dog bites. You should seek emergency medical care after a bite, and retain the animal for testing, if possible. Some factors that the medical team will consider when deciding if you need vaccines or other medications include:

  • The type of animal that bit you
  • The presence of rabies in the region
  • Whether the animal is vaccinated
  • Whether the attack was provoked

If the dog is suspected of having rabies, or if you’ve been bitten in the neck or on the face, you’ll receive the rabies vaccine and rabies immune globulin injection right away. If the animal isn’t available for observation, you’ll also need the rabies vaccine.

Patients who have not previously had transplants can have the tetanus vaccine as well, if they have not had a tetanus shot in the recent past. For tetanus shots, medical providers look for wounds deeper than a centimeter, contaminants and devitalized tissue. If those are present, then a tetanus shot should be given.

Of course, patients may also need psychological support after an attack. The fear of a subsequent attack and the trauma from the attack and treatment can be overwhelming, especially if the victim is young.

If you’re attacked, hold the pet’s owner responsible

No one wants to suffer from an unexpected injury, and it can be awkward to ask someone to cover the expenses for something an animal did. However, dogs’ owners are responsible for their pets’ actions and should be held accountable for any injuries you’ve suffered.

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