Every day in the United States, around 1,000 individual Americans suffer from a dog bite injury that is sufficiently bad enough for them to go to visit their local emergency room. Besides these serious types of dog bites that put people in the hospital, around 4.5 million U.S. residents experience a dog bite each year. Half of the victims are young children aged from five to nine years old. One of every five of these dog bites leads to an injury serious enough to need professional medical attention, per a report of the CDC Centers for Disease Control.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites often lead to at least one or more of these sometimes serious injuries:
- Loss of tissue
- Puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Crush injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Infections including cellulitis, rabies, etc.
What Makes A Dog Bite Injury Unique from Other Kinds of Injuries?
Dog bite injuries are fairly unique in that they may be minor or life-threatening and the victims not even realize that they are dying as a result of the bite. Besides this, facial bites can cause broken bones in the face and even lead to serious nerve damage. This is why children need to be attended to by a medical professional in the cases of serious injuries to the face caused by dogs.
Dog bite injuries are also unique in that they may simply be painful puncture and laceration wounds, or they may instead be far more serious. Besides broken bones, nerve damage can occur, as well as deformity and disability, and even severe infections that can cause death.
Death may be an unusual result from a dog bite, but it is not unheard of in the U.S. Infections that occur as a result of a dog bite can lead to a serious infection like C canimorsus appearing. These are unusual but when they do happen, they can be lethal. The common symptoms of this family of infections include myalgia, malaise, fever, diarrhea, throwing up, dyspnea, pain in the abdominal regions, headaches, confusion, and skin rashes. In a great number of patients, disseminated intravascular coagulation results from it.
Treatments for Dog Bite Injuries
The good news if you are bitten by a dog is that in many cases you can treat it with basic first aid in your own home. Caring for these types of bites at home requires that you first stop the bleeding with a clean towel and by attempting to keep the area that is injured well elevated. Once the bleeding has stopped, you need to cautiously wash the bitten place with water and soap. At that point and each day, it is important to put an antibiotic ointment at the place of the injury in order to stop any potential infection. Finally, you should apply (then regularly change) a sterile bandage to the area of the wound.
The Time to See a Doctor or Go to the Hospital Emergency Room
If the dog that bit you is not known to you, then you should go visit your doctor or an E.R. Similarly, if the dog bite proves difficult to stop or control the bleeding, or if you witness any of the hallmarks of infection in or around the wound (such as swelling, reddening, warming, or building up of pus), then either the doctor’s office or your hospital should be your next stop. In a number of cases, such dog bites lead to infections that require antibiotic treatment to get well.
At a doctor visit for a dog bite, the physician will closely examine the wound to determine if the bite was so deep that it caused potential damage to bones, nerves, tendons, or muscles. After this is done, he or she will comprehensively clean the wound to rid it of any signs of lurking bacteria or hidden dirt, as well as to eliminate remaining dead tissue from the injured place.
Doctors go to extreme lengths to head off any serious infections. Few dogs in the United States contain rabies anymore, but for those dogs whose medical history is not known, or in the unlikely event that a dog comes up positive with rabies in a test, rabies vaccines for bite victims are the order of the day. A physician will also check your medical records and history to ensure that you are not out of date with your tetanus shots. Preventing or treating serious infections requires a course of antibiotics for from seven to 14 days time. A careful doctor might also request a follow up appointment after from one day to three days to re-examine your wound for later developing signs of infections.
The Time to Contact A Lawyer
Many states have what is known as a “one bite rule.” This does not mean that dogs get a one bite pass on liability for their owners. Instead, it refers to an owner’s liability for dog bites being based on whether the animal has ever shown itself to be dangerous or threatening to other people. In the event that the dog attack or bite dispute ends up in court, juries and judges make the call on whether the owner should have been aware of the dog’s propensity to injure another person.
In general, when the dog bite injury causes pain, infections, surgery, or suffering for the victim, it is time to contact a reliable and dependable lawyer. If sutures are involved in the closing of a wound, this is a good reason. Wounds that prove to be very deep and severe, in particular in the face region, can easily need plastic surgery to be performed.
In any of these instances where physical or bodily harm has resulted from the dog attack, bite, or injury, you are entitled to and should contact a good lawyer for a free consultation. There is no reason to suffer trauma or physical and mental anguish unrecompensed when you are entitled to reasonable and just compensation for the problems caused by dog bites.