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Just a minor dog bite? You still need medical attention

Dog bites are serious, although some people may believe that they aren't always that bad. Even if it's just a single puncture wound from a dog snapping at you with its teeth, that injury can be life-changing.

Dogs are said to have mouths that are cleaner that human mouths, but that's a myth. The reality is that dogs often have germs in their mouths that can make humans very sick. While bacteria is everywhere, the kind of bacteria that enters a wound makes a difference.

What are problems that can arise from dog bites?

One common bacteria that can sometimes cause trouble is capnocytophaga canimorsus, an oral flora that has the potential to cause infection. (Infections are rare, but there have been cases of sepsis and death from this particular bacteria).

Another potential complication is an infection with Toxocara canis, which is a parasite with the potential to cause blindness. The infection is rare, but left unchecked, the parasites can move throughout the body and damage tissues.

Of course, you also have to worry about the common issues caused by dog bites, such as rabies and tetanus. Rabies is unlikely in vaccinated pets, but tetanus can be spread to you even if your pet has a vaccine against it.

What do you need to do if a dog bites you?

Dog owners are vicariously liable for the injuries that their pets cause. If you are bitten, you need to seek medical attention. Whether you have a single puncture wound or you have large gashes from the attack, you need to seek medical attention to have the wounds cleaned and stitched. Some serious cases require surgical intervention.

After you receive medical care, it's time to reach out to your attorney. The owner of the pet should be held liable for the attack (in most cases), so you can seek compensation from them to cover the medical care you need now and in the future.

As a victim, you should not have to be the person who pays for that care. If the owner has homeowner's insurance, it may cover the attack if you were on their property. If you were hurt in their vehicle, then car insurance might take over the claim. Your attorney can give you more information on whom you should file a claim with and how much you should expect out of your claim once you reach a settlement.

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