Getting bitten by a dog is a severely traumatic experience. In the heat of the moment, you likely focus on immediate physical damage and injury. But the threat of a bite does not end at tissue damage.
In fact, many of the biggest risks of bite injuries come into play after the initial attack. After all, a dog’s mouth is home to more types of bacteria than you can count.
Rabies and tetanus
Healthline examines the risks that stem from dog bites. First, the most obvious risk is rabies. If you know the dog that bit you, you can check their medical history for rabies vaccines. For unknown dogs, vets can run a test to see if they have the infection. In the meantime, you will undergo rabies treatment. Though painful, this treatment will keep you alive and safe from the infection.
Tetanus is another potential affliction due to dog bite injury. This can include lockjaw, a painful disorder that tightens the muscles around your jaw and mouth. Tetanus can also muscle spasms, trouble swallowing, changes in blood pressure and seizures.
Infections stemming from bacteria
Finally, a dog’s mouth houses many types of bacteria. You could come into contact with pasteurella, streptococcus and staphylococcus. Capnocytophaga is also a potential issue. Any of these can cause potentially lethal infections. They may require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics. If left untreated, bite wounds can even lead to septic shock or sepsis. Some dog bites end up fatal.
If a dog bit you, you should seek immediate medical attention even if you think it does not seem that serious. Treating it too lightly could result in a hidden danger posing a threat to your life.