Dogs’ mouths are home to numerous strains of bacteria, many of which can complicate a dog bite wound. When it comes to what diseases are caused by dog bites, each type of bacteria can cause a variety of infections when they enter the human body, such as the following:
A dog bite victim should receive first aid as soon as possible in order to thoroughly clean and dress the wound. Depending on the severity of the bite, it is often beneficial to seek medical attention as well. A doctor can examine the wound and take steps to limit the risk of infection, such as flushing out the area, providing stitches and other protective measures, and issuing a prescription for antibiotics.
Types of Bacteria Frequently Found in Dog Bite Wounds
To understand what diseases are caused by dog bites, it is important to consider the source: the bacteria that causes these diseases in the first place. Studies have revealed hundreds of bacteria strains in the wounds of animal bites, some being much more common than others. The strain and species of bacteria present in a dog bite wound can affect how quickly an infection develops, as well as its symptoms and severity.
Many Dog Bite Wounds Contain Pasteurella Pathogens
In a study published in the Clinical Microbiology Reviews, researchers found that Pasteurella was present in half of participants’ dog bite wounds. There are multiple species of this bacteria, with the most common in dogs being Pasteurella canis. Infections from this bacteria can be serious, often affecting the central nervous system. Victims with infections involving Pasteurella also seem to present symptoms sooner than those infected by other bacteria.
Strep and Staph Bacteria Infections from Dog Bites
That same study from the Clinical Microbiology Reviews found that Streptococcus and Staphylococcus were tied for the second most common bacteria found in dog bite wounds. These bacteria tend to live on the skin of animals and humans alike. When a bite occurs, the puncture wound can introduce this bacteria from the dog’s mouth, as well as the victim’s own skin, to cause infection.
Capnocytophaga Also Live in Dogs’ Mouths
The bacteria Capnocytophaga can live in the mouths of many organisms, including dogs and humans. In dogs and other animals, this bacteria causes no harm. When they enter a human’s bloodstream through a bite, however, they can rapidly spread and cause fatal infections.
Capnocytophaga infections are relatively rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), though their effects can be severe. Some victims may even develop gangrene and require amputation due to complications.
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Further Complications from Dog Bite Diseases
Infections developed after a dog bite can lead to further medical issues if they go unaddressed. For example, like any untreated open wound, dog bites have the ability to cause sepsis and septic shock. The development of septic shock can quickly lead to organ or system failure.
Heart attacks, strokes, gangrene, and pneumonia are just a few of the complications related to dog bite infections. It is important to watch the affected area for signs of infection in the hours and days after a bite, as complications can develop quickly. Immediate medical intervention is often necessary.
Symptoms of an Infected Dog Bite
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), infections only develop in dog bites 5% to 15% of the time. However, the majority of the 5 million animal bites that occur in the United States each year involve dogs.
Being so common, all victims should take dog bites seriously to limit further harm. This means addressing these wounds quickly and watching out for symptoms of infection, which may include:
- Development of pus
- Pain in the muscles or joints
- Swollen lymph nodes
The risks of developing an infection after a dog bite will depend on several factors, including the dog’s vaccination history and the victim’s health. Those most at risk for infection from a dog bite include children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. Should you or a loved one suffer a dog bite, especially one that leads to infection, you could be eligible for compensation.
Get Help with Your Dog Bite Personal Injury Case
While many dog bites occur in the victim’s own home, others may involve another person’s animal and an act of negligence. For example, if a neighbor or a stranger allowed their dog to roam without a leash, and the animal bit you, you could have grounds for a personal injury case.
The team at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers is in a prime position to review your case. We take pride in advocating for victims of dog bites and other injuries due to negligence. We want to be on your side, exploring your options for financial recovery and building a case to support your claims.
Call for a free, confidential consultation today at (337) 777-7777 to discuss your potential case.