For many people, a dog can be another member of the family. More often than not, dogs are caring and lovable companions found in the homes of millions across the world. Unfortunately, not all people have such pleasant experiences with dogs. Whether due to circumstance or a dog’s upbringing, being bitten by a dog is a possibility. While the vast majority of dog bites are minor, some instances can be more severe. If you or a loved one are ever bitten by a dog it is important to know when to seek medical attention. As a general rule of thumb, there are four scenarios in which it is always advisable to consult a doctor after a dog bite.
1. Excessive Bleeding Occurs
Perhaps the most urgent sign you should seek medical care after a dog bite is if excessive bleeding occurs. Excessive bleeding (or bleeding that lasts longer than around 5 minutes) is often characteristic of a laceration wound.
A laceration wound is the result of deeply punctured or torn skin often in a zigzag pattern. The actual depth of a laceration wound can vary and go as deep as the bone. Laceration wounds require stitches to fully repair/heal. These deep wounds after a dog bite are often the result of a very aggressive bite and occur most easily in children and elderly individuals.
2. Symptoms of Nerve Damage
Nerve damage is perhaps one of the most devastating results of a dog bite or attack. Unfortunately, due to the strength of a dog’s jaws, nerve damage is also a common result of aggressive or vicious attacks. Signs of nerve damage include a loss of feeling to the area bitten, tingling sensations, loss of motor function, impaired movement, and even paralysis.
Recovery from nerve damage can span from a few weeks to a few years. Even more devastating, some nerve damage is simply irreversible. This type of injury can result in costly medical bills or lost wages. In cases such as these, it may be advisable to not only seek medical assistance but legal advice as well. A personal injury attorney is often well versed in these scenarios and can evaluate if you are eligible to pursue medical bills or other expenses from the attacking dog’s owner or responsible party.
3. Signs of Infection Arise
After being bitten by a dog it is imperative to immediately cleanse the wound to avoid infection. Once complete, many medical professionals advise monitoring the wound for any arising signs of infection. Signs of an infected dog bite wound may include swelling or redness around the bite itself, pus exuding, or increased pain at or near the bite.
Despite the best effort of the victim, dog bites often become infected. This increased risk of infection is due to the bacteria that a dog bite often carries with it. An infection may occur anywhere from 1 to 14 days after the actual bite. If you believe your wound has become infected, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent any complications.
4. The Dog’s Vaccination History is Unknown
As stated earlier, a dog’s bite often results in infection due to the bacteria naturally associated with these bites. Without proper vaccinations, a dog can carry much more serious bacteria and diseases that can be transferred to the bite victim. If a dog has not received proper rabies vaccinations, you should always undergo a medical examination.
Sometimes it can be difficult to know if a dog has received proper vaccinations if the animal and/or owner are unknown. IN cases such as these you should always consult with a medical professional on your next stapes. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health and well-being.
Sadly, our furry friends are not always so friendly. In these unfortunate scenarios, many people find themselves a victim of a dog bite or attack. As a result, medical attention is often required to heal the wound. If you believe you meet any of the above scenarios or criteria it is always advisable to seek the care of a doctor. Hopefully, you never fall victim to a dog bite; but, if you do, take the proper steps to ensure your health and safety.
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