When Should I Be Concerned About a Dog Bite?

How to Identify a Serious Dog Bite Injury

Dog bites can range from mild to severe, but it’s important to know when an injury is serious enough to require medical attention. Understanding the signs and symptoms of a serious dog bite can help you recognize when it’s necessary to seek medical care. Let’s take a look at the signs of infection or more severe dog bites and how you can best protect yourself and your family against serious injury.

Types of Injuries Associated with Dog Bites

Dog bites can lead to several types of injuries, including puncture wounds, lacerations, abrasions, crush injuries, avulsions (when part of the skin is completely torn away), and fractures. All of these types of injuries should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. The more severe the injury is, the longer it will take to heal and the higher the risk for complications such as infection.

The more severe consequences of dog bites include (but are not limited to):

  • Infection. A dog bite can be more than just a painful experience, as it allows for a multitude of microscopic villains (i.e. bacteria) from the canine's mouth to penetrate the victim's skin. These bacterial substances can include Pasteurella, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter cloacae, and Citrobacter freundii.
  • Nerve damage. Depending on how deep the bite is, a person can suffer from serious nerve damage because of the force applied by the animal’s jaw and canines.
  • Disfiguring scars. Dog bites can leave many people with permanent scars and physical trauma, which can affect their day-to-day lives as well as their mental and emotional health.
  • Emotional trauma. Surviving a dog attack can leave lasting emotional scars, with victims grappling with complex mental health challenges like PTSD, anxiety, and deep-rooted fears. The healing journey can be greatly assisted by seeking professional psychological support and exploring various therapeutic options to mitigate the aftermath of such a harrowing experience.

Signs of Infection

The most common sign of infection after a dog bite is redness or swelling around the wound area that does not go away within 24 hours. Other signs include pain that gets worse over time and oozing or pus coming out of the wound. If you experience any of these symptoms after a dog bite, seek medical attention immediately.

Recognizing a Dog Bite Is Serious

If you think a dog bite is serious, it most likely is. Common signs the injury is on the severe side include:

  • Broken bones or internal injuries
  • Deep lacerations or puncture wounds
  • Extreme pain or pain that worsens over time
  • Fever or chills
  • Loss of muscle function
  • Numbness, tingling, burning, or stinging sensations
  • Objects trapped in the wound
  • Signs of infection
  • Uncontrollable bleeding

If you do not know if the dog involved in the attack is vaccinated against rabies or other diseases, you should also treat the bite as very serious, as you can suffer health-wise if the dog is infected. You should also take added precautions if you (as the dog bite victim) have a weakened immune system.

Preventative Measures

When encountering an unfamiliar dog, always ask permission from its owner before trying to pet it or interact with it in any way. Even if you are comfortable around dogs, never approach one that appears angry or agitated – this could lead to an attack.

If you have children in your home, make sure they understand how important it is not to approach strange dogs without asking for permission first. Additionally, keep up-to-date on all your dog’s vaccinations in order to reduce their risk for disease transmission in case they do bite someone unintentionally.

Get Legal Help

While many dog bite injuries are minor and don’t require medical attention, others may be more severe and need professional treatment right away in order to prevent long-term complications such as infection or even disability due to nerve damage. Keeping up-to-date on vaccinations and practicing caution when interacting with unfamiliar animals can help keep everyone safe from potential harm caused by a serious dog bite injury.

After receiving medical treatment, if you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite, it is important to contact an attorney right away. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and seek compensation for your losses.

At the Law Office of Joseph A. Lazzara, P.C., our attorney has over 25 years of experience in helping clients fight for fair compensation. Whether you need help negotiating with an insurance company or handling courtroom litigation, Attorney Lazzara is here and prepared to help you.

Schedule a complimentary consultation and get started on your case today by calling (720) 809-8262.