A bite from a dog causes an immediate puncture or open wound and makes a person susceptible to infection and disease.
Understanding the risks associated with dog bites may encourage people to seek medical attention sooner than later.
The most common diseases from dog bites
Dogs carry a variety of diseases and bacteria that they can easily pass to humans through a bite. Many of these conditions result in traumatic illness and can cause life-long problems.
- Rabies – According to the World Health Organization, 99% of all human rabies cases originate from dog bites. This virus affects the neurological system and is 100% fatal once symptoms develop. Common symptoms are pain at the bite site, fever, excitability and gradual paralysis.
- Tetanus – Clostridium tetani bacteria exist in the environment, and dogs can pass the bacteria to humans through a bite. This bacteria releases a toxin called tetanus, which may cause paralysis in humans.
- Severe infections – As with any wound, infection is a risk. Dogs’ mouths are full of bacteria which can cause swelling, fever, pain and sepsis if left untreated.
How to care for a dog bite injury
For minor bites, the priority is cleaning the wound. Wash immediately with water and use a compress to stop the bleeding. Apply a topical antibiotic cream to help prevent infection and cover with a bandage. Watch for swelling, redness, fever and other signs of infection. If the wound is bleeding excessively or is large, put pressure on the gash with a clean compress and seek emergency medical attention.
Getting medical treatment after a dog bite ensures the injured can seek compensation for damages.