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Dog Bite Injuries and the Risk of Infection

Dog bite injuries can range in severity, with some bites not even puncturing the skin and others causing permanent nerve damage, scarring, and chronic pain. Some of the most serious complications that many dog bite victims face, however, involve infections, which can occur even when a bite is considered relatively minor. While treating infections is usually possible with antibiotics, some serious cases could require extensive and costly treatment, so if you were recently attacked by a dog and suffered a serious injury or infection as a result, you should consider reaching out to an experienced Florida dog bite lawyer for help seeking compensation for your medical bills and other losses. 

Common Dog Bite Infections

The mouths of dogs play host to countless bacteria and viruses that, while usually not dangerous for animals, can have devastating consequences for humans. The capnocytophaga bacteria, for instance, when transmitted to humans via a dog bite, can cause kidney failure, gangrene, and heart attacks in otherwise healthy people, while posing no risk to the animal itself. Other common bacteria that can be transmitted to humans through a bite include:

  • Pasteurellosis, which is a type of bacteria that spreads to the bones, joints, and tendons and can also cause blood infections, pneumonia, and meningitis;
  • Staphylococcus, which causes joint swelling and fevers in victims;
  • Rabies, which is actually a virus that can cause brain swelling, resulting in hallucinations, confusion, partial paralysis, and death; and
  • Tetanus, which is a kind of bacterial disease that causes body spasms, stiffness, and swallowing problems. 

Dog bite victims who suffer from these types of bite-related infections almost always require intensive medical care, including wound cleaning, as well as drainage, intravenous antibacterial medications, surgery, and amputation. 

Signs of an Infection

Many people imagine that infections require a significant amount of time to set in. The reality, however, is that when it comes to bacteria and viruses transferred via dog bite, a person can begin experiencing symptoms within hours of being bitten. Starting treatment early can make all the difference in the outcome of these kinds of injuries, making it particularly important for dog bite victims to remain vigilant for the following symptoms, all of which could indicate infection:

  • Inflammation near the wound;
  • Increased redness, or streaks of red shooting outwards from the wound;
  • Fever and chills;
  • Drainage from the wound;
  • Unexplained fatigue; 
  • Difficulty breathing; and
  • Tremors or muscle weakness. 

Some of these symptoms can start showing up within a day of a person’s dog bite and worsen quickly without treatment. The means of diagnosis and treatment a person requires, however, will depend in large part on the type and severity of the infection. For instance, in severe cases, it may be necessary to conduct an x-ray to determine whether an infection has spread to the bone, after which, surgical intervention may be required. Fortunately, the cost of lab tests and treatment, as well as other losses, like unpaid wages and pain and suffering, can be recovered by the injured party. 

Seeking Compensation for Florida Dog Bite Injuries

At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP, our Florida dog bite lawyers are dedicated to helping victims of animal attacks obtain compensation for their losses. To learn more, please call us 305-371-2692 today.