Dog Bite Complications: When a Bite is More Than Just a Bite
While, in most cases, dog bite injuries are relatively minor and can be treated at home, others are more severe and require immediate medical attention. Due to the increased risk of infection, this includes any bite that leaves behind a puncture wound, laceration, or tear in the skin. Furthermore, all children should be evaluated after a dog bite, no matter how small or minor the injury may appear to be. Victims should also be aware of the potential risks and complications of dog bites, and know what to do, should they occur occur. The following information can help.
Risk of Infection
Of all the complications that a dog bite victim may face, infection is one of the most likely. It can happen in any level of bite, even those that are only slight abrasions. However, the biggest risk is among those with puncture wounds, skin tears, or deep lacerations. This is because of the exposure to several types of bacteria throughout the injury and healing process - bacteria in the animal’s mouth, the bacteria on their skin at the time of injury, and bacteria in their environment as the wound is healing.
If caught and attended to early on, bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. In contrast, untreated infections can lead to serious complications, including sepsis, which can lead to death. Because of this risk, dog bite victims should know how to spot the signs of infection, which include:
- Pus or fluid oozing from the wound;
- Swollen lymph nodes;
- Tenderness or loss of sensation in the area surrounding the bite;
- Red streaks near or around the bite;
- Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, fatigue, etc.);
- Breathing difficulties;
- Tremors or muscle weakness; and
- Loss of movement or use of a limb that has been bitten.
- Scarring and/or Damage to Tendons, Ligaments, and Deep Muscle Tissue
When a bite penetrates the skin, the victim is at risk for scarring and/or damage to their tendons, ligaments, and/or deep muscle tissue. This is an extreme area of concern for young victims, who often experience injuries to the face and neck, and have smaller limbs and body parts. This is why all children should visit a physician for a dog bite. Furthermore, any adult who experiences extreme pain at the site of a dog bite should visit a physician to receive an evaluation for possible damage to underlying tissue.
While many people talk about the physical aftermath of a dog bite, few stop to consider the psychological impact of a dog bite injury. There is the chance that a child may become severely afraid of all dogs, to the point that they scream anytime one comes near. Then there is the risk that, as the wound heals, the victim may suffer from intense itching that can drive them to the point of insanity. Nerve damage, emotional shock from disfigurement, stress from repeated surgeries or therapy, long-term physical pain, and financial loss due to missed time at work and/or expensive medical bills can also take a toll on the mental and emotional well-being of victims for years to come. For this reason, victims should know how to proceed when a dog bite injury occurs.
Our Green Bay Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You Seek Compensation
Dog bite injury victims do not have to simply accept that fate has dealt them a bad hand. At Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd., we help them pursue compensation for their financial, emotional, and psychological losses. Dedicated and experienced, we provide compassionate, comprehensive representation for all dog bite victims. Contact our Green Bay, Wisconsin personal injury attorneys and ask for an analysis of your situation today. Call 920-739-7366.