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What are the potential complications of a dog bite?

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2024 | Animal Bites & Attacks

Dog bite injuries are common, and kids are especially at risk of sustaining fatal injuries from a dog bite in the face or neck. These injuries are dangerous because they can lead to infections and dangerous conditions like rabies.

Bites puncturing the skin are more likely to result in an infection and require immediate medical attention. Consulting a health care professional can be crucial to preventing fatal complications.

Complications to watch out for

If you get bit, you may develop an infection called Capnocytophaga. This condition is characterized by painful blistering around the bite, fever, headaches and vomiting. Diarrhea and joint pains are also symptoms of this type of infection.

These symptoms may appear between one and 14 days after the dog bites you. Excessive drinking and immune system disorders increase your risk of developing Capnocytophaga.

Another potential complication of a dog bite is the onset of sepsis, a life-threatening reaction to infection. Indicators of this condition include pain, daytime sleepiness, confusion and high or low body temperature.

You must consult a physician if you are presenting these symptoms after getting bitten. To treat sepsis, you may have to take antibiotics and intravenous fluids.

Tetanus is another complication of a dog bite. If you experience muscle stiffness, stomach spasms or difficulty swallowing, talk to a doctor immediately to receive proper vaccinations.

If the dog that bit you has rabies, you must also receive a postexposure rabies vaccination to treat the infection. This condition is characterized by flu-like symptoms, weakness or itchy feeling around the bite.

Seek medical attention after a dog bite

It is wise to get medical help if a dog bites you and if there is uncontrollable bleeding and a warm feeling from the wound. If you have not received any tetanus shots in the past five years since the day you were bit, it may be best to get your wound checked.

If you think the bite damaged your nerves or bones, you may have to visit the emergency room. It is also crucial to monitor the dog a few weeks after sustaining the injury and look for signs of rabies.