Dog Bites and the Risk of Infection
Dog bite injuries tend to be severe, resulting in damage to the muscles, ligaments, and nerves, as well as significant pain and potential disfigurement. Some of the most serious complications faced by dog bite victims, however, involve infection. Treating infections can be a complicated and expensive process, so if you were recently bitten by a dog and were later diagnosed with an infection, it is important to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale dog bite lawyer who can help you seek compensation for your medical bills and related losses.
Types of Dog Bite Infections
A dog’s mouth is host to countless bacteria and viruses that can have devastating consequences for humans who are exposed to them. For instance, those who are infected by the Capnocytophaga bacteria could experience kidney failure, gangrene, or heart attack. Tragically, exposure to this bacteria can prove deadly, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimating that as many as three out of every ten people who develop a Capnocytophaga infection pass away as a result. Other bacteria that are commonly found in the mouths of dogs and can be transmitted to humans via bites include:
- Pasteurellosis, which is a type of bacteria that can spread to the joints, tendons, and bones and can result in blood infections, meningitis, and pneumonia;
- Rabies, which is a virus that leads to brain swelling and death if left untreated and is characterized by hallucinations, confusion, partial paralysis, and hydrophobia;
- Staphylococcus, which is a type of bacteria that can cause joint swelling and fevers; and
- Tetanus, which is a bacterial disease that causes stiffness, body spasms, and difficulty swallowing.
Patients who are diagnosed with one of these types of infections usually require intensive medical care, including wound drainage, the use of intravenous antibacterial medications, and even amputation.
Signs of an Infection
Bacteria and viruses carried by animals can begin affecting a person’s health within hours of the attack, so it is important for dog bite victims to keep an eye out for certain symptoms that are usually indicative of infection, including:
- Inflammation around the site of the wound;
- Increased redness, including streaks of red shooting outwards from the wound site;
- Fever, chills, or night sweats;
- Drainage or discharge from the wound;
- Tenderness or a loss of sensation near the bite;
- Unexplained fatigue;
- Breathing difficulties; and
- Tremors or muscle weakness.
Many of these symptoms often begin showing up less than a day after a person sustains a dog bite and can quickly worsen if left untreated. Diagnosis of the specific type of infection will dictate treatment regimens, so physicians will need to order x-rays to determine whether the infection has spread to the bone, in addition to other lab tests. Fortunately, the cost of diagnosis and treatment can be recovered by the injured party from the owner of the dog who caused his or her injury.
Contact Our Fort Lauderdale Legal Team Today
For help with your case, please contact the dedicated dog bite lawyers at Boone & Davis by calling 954-566-9919. We offer free initial consultations.