Beyond Cuts and Bruises: Dog Bites and Serious Infections

July 26, 2016

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that an estimated 4.5 people experience dog bites on an annual basis in the U.S. In many cases, dog bites can result in bruising, cuts, or other seemingly minor injuries. However, even dog bites that seem relatively minor can have serious complications that result in the need for serious medical attention.

One of the most common complications of a dog bite is infection. According to the CDC, approximately one-fifth of all dog bite wounds end up infected. These infections can require antibiotics or more extensive treatment and, if not properly treated, many dog bite infections can be life-threatening. Because of the risk and cost associated with untreated dog bite infections, it is always critical to seek medical attention anytime a dog bite breaks the skin, as that is how dangerous bacteria penetrates through into the body. Bacteria can travel through cuts, lacerations, puncture wounds, or even scratches or scrapes, though these have the lowest risk of infection.

Dog teeth can cause small but surprisingly deep wounds, which can make it difficult to completely clean the bite wound. In addition, in some cases, the top layer of the wound may heal and may cause you to believe that everything is fine. However, bacteria can be trapped down in the wound and can result in serious infection. For these reasons, you should always be well aware of the symptoms of infections caused by dog bites, which can include the following:

  • Chills or fever
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling or tenderness around the wound
  • Pus coming from the wound
  • Stiffness or weakness in the muscles
  • Tingling or red marks around the wound

Infections should be diagnosed and treated with antibiotics or other medications as soon as possible. If an infection goes untreated, it can spread to your bones or a deadly condition called sepsis can develop. For these reasons, even relatively minor dog bites can result in costly medical treatment, long-term effects, or even loss of life.

Whether you experience infection from a dog bite or not, you will likely incur medical bills and may lose income if you have to miss work. Dog bites can further result in emotional trauma that can hinder your everyday life. The good news is that New Jersey law allows you to hold dog owners strictly liable for all of your bite-related losses.

Please Discuss Your Situation with a New Jersey Dog Bite Attorney Today

Dog bites can have lasting and costly effects for you or your child. If infections or other complications occur from a dog bite, your family could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills and other losses. At the Wilton Law Firm in Middletown, NJ, we have extensive experience standing up for the rights of dog bite victims. We understand all relevant laws in NJ and always offer free consultations, so please call us today at 732-275-9555 for help.

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