Few things can be as frightening as when a dog attacks. Dog bites range from mild to severe, and most people with a severe bite will seek treatment immediately. However, in mild to moderate cases, a victim may feel that they’ll be fine with first aid administered at home. Here’s why that’s a misconception and why it’s important to get professional help for a dog bite quickly.
1. The Injury is Probably Worse Than It Looks
A dog’s teeth are sharp and can create deep puncture wounds that may not look bad on the surface. A puncture wound carries a higher risk for tetanus and can damage to the internal muscle and other tissues without doing much damage to the outer skin. This means that what might look like a couple of tiny holes is actually a very serious injury underneath. Depending on where the dog bit you, it may have punctured a vein or artery. This causes excessive bleeding without emergency treatment.
2. You May Need Rabies Treatment
Unless you bring the dog with you to be tested for rabies, or you can verify vaccination records, you will likely need to receive rabies treatment. This consists of a series of small injections in the stomach. It must be started as soon as possible after the potential infection. Rabies is a fatal disease if not treated, and this is one of those “rather be safe than sorry” cases. You need the injections if you aren’t 100% certain that the dog that bit you doesn’t have rabies or is up to date on vaccinations.
3. Dog Bites Can Become Infected Quickly
Even mild to moderate dog bites are at a high risk for infection. It is likely that you will receive antibiotics to keep any potential infections at bay. Any signs of infection need to be assessed immediately before the spread. Home care, such as cleaning the wound with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide and dressing with antibiotic ointment, doesn’t cut it in most dog bite cases.
When to Contact an Attorney
If you or a loved one have been attacked or bitten by a dog, don’t wait to seek medical treatment. You may be able to hold the owner of the dog liable for the damages you incurred, including medical bills and lost wages while you were recovering. Contact Matson Injury Law today for more information by calling (626) 792-1900.