If a dog has bitten you or a loved one, you may want to know if a dog bite is serious. A dog bite is serious when there is a potential for infection, excessive blood loss, or damage to the nerves, ligaments, and muscles. A dog bite wound is especially concerning if the animal has not been vaccinated.
Consequences of Dog Bites Can Be Severe
Dogs are often called “man’s best friend.” Unfortunately, some dogs become aggressive and bite. If a dog bit you or a loved one, you may be wondering whether the bite requires medical care. When it comes to wounds from dogs, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry. Getting the bite wound evaluated by a doctor is the best way to know for sure if the bite is serious.
Many people have been taught that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a person’s mouth. However, experts state that a dog’s mouth contains a tremendous number of pathogens. In fact, USA Today reports that the average dog has over 700 different types of bacteria in its mouth. When a dog bites someone and punctures the skin, bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens from the dog’s mouth can enter the victim’s body. A dog’s mouth may contain bacteria such as:
- Escherichia coli
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Enterobacter cloacae
- Citrobacter freundii
A dog’s mouth can also transmit dangerous viruses, including the rabies virus. If an infection from a dog bite is not promptly addressed, it can spread to the person’s bloodstream and make them very sick. In extreme cases, a dog bite victim can die from a post-bite infection.
A dog bite can cause severe damage to body tissues, including nerves. Neurapraxia occurs when trauma to nerves causes the nerves to stretch. Signs of neuropraxia include burning and stinging sensations or numbness. Physical therapy may be needed to recover from neurapraxia.
Another type of nerve damage called axonotmesis is often caused when nerves are crushed in a dog attack. Victims suffering from axonotmesis may experience loss of motor function, sensory problems, and even paralysis. Recovering from axonotmesis may take months or years.
Neurotmesis occurs when nerves are severed. Sufferers may lose complete sensation and motor function in the affected regions of the body. Neurotmesis typically requires surgery.
Unfortunately, surgical intervention may only mitigate the consequences of nerve damage. A person who suffers neurotmesis in a dog bite will likely experience symptoms for the rest of his or her life.
Physical scarring is often one of the most critical concerns after a dog attack. Dog bites to the face, head, neck, and hands can lead to disfiguring scars that significantly impact the victim’s daily life. If you or a loved one was bitten by a dog and sustained lacerations or puncture wounds, getting prompt medical treatment may lessen the scarring you experience.
The scars left after a dog bite are not only physical. Emotional scarring from the traumatic experience of being attacked by a dog can profoundly impact a victim’s life. Some dog attack victims develop psychological, emotional, and mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and phobias. Mental health counseling and other types of psychological treatment may help alleviate psychological symptoms after a dog attack.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
Signs that a Dog Bite Is Serious
If you were bitten by a dog and want to know if a dog bite is serious, the answer is most likely yes. Dog bites can cause dangerous or even deadly medical complications. If you experience any of the following symptoms after a dog attack, get assessed by a medical professional.
Some signs that a dog bite is serious include:
- Extreme pain or pain that worsens over time
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Deep lacerations or puncture wounds
- Broken bones or internal injuries
- Loss of function or muscle weakness
- Signs of infection including redness, red streaks, tenderness, warmth, pus, or oozing fluid from the wound
- Fever or chills
- Numbness, tingling, burning, or stinging sensations
- Objects such as teeth, nails, or debris trapped in the wound
- The dog is not vaccinated against rabies and other diseases
- The bite victim has diabetes or another illness where a dog bite can wreak havoc on an already weakened immune system
Contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers to Discuss Your Legal Options
If a dog bit you or your loved one, you may be entitled to financial compensation. You may be compensated for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. However, injury claims in Georgia are typically subject to a two-year statute of limitations, per the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §9-3-33 If you do not file your claim before the statute of limitations expires, you may be ineligible for compensation.
To learn more, contact Bader Scott Injury Lawyers. Call our office at 404.888.8888 today for a free case assessment.