Being bitten by a dog is a scary experience, regardless of the type of damage you sustain. Dog bites can cause serious physical injuries, but they can also pass along bacteria that cause infections and serious illnesses like rabies. Medical attention is recommended, even with minor injuries, to prevent the following dog bite complications from occurring.
Despite the common saying that dogs’ mouths are cleaner than humans, they actually carry bacteria which can cause significant infections in some cases. When a dog breaks the skin, the chances of acquiring these bacteria is much higher. The risk of infection is also a lot higher for people with certain medical conditions, such as immune disorders or diabetes. You can identify a possible infection my paying attention to the wound. Infected dog bites will look red and swollen, and may also feel warm to the touch.
Depending on the seriousness of the bite, some wounds can also be quite deep. If nerves are damaged this can cause additional issues, and may even require continued medical treatment to restore function. Keep in mind that puncture wounds, which may appear minor, can penetrate deep enough to damage nerves and muscles. That’s why immediate medical treatment is recommended after experiencing a dog bite, even if you feel wounds are minor.
The most serious consequence of a dog bite is rabies, which is a condition that often proves to be fatal without the appropriate treatment. After a dog bite occurs, try to verify the vaccination record of the dog to determine whether you should be provided a rabies vaccine. If you’re unable to, do your best to track down the owner so you can provide information to your doctor. In this case, seek out immediate medical attention so your doctor can accurately determine your rabies risk.