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Bacterial Infections Following Dog Bite Attack


Personal Injury

There are dozens of known bacterial infections that can occur as a result of a dog bite. Many infections, particularly those left untreated, can cause serious complications, and in tragic cases, even fatality. Fortunately, many bacterial infections are treatable, if the victim seeks proper medical treatment, and is adequately informed as to warning signs associated with potential infection. The Gainesville Personal Injury Attorneys, of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A.,  discuss the dangers and risks of bacterial infections following a dog bite attack.

Studies show that the majority dog bites do become infected to some extent or another. One of the most common causes of infection, is exposure to bacteria at the time of the dog attack. While bacteria present in a dog’s mouth is often the source of infection, bacteria present on a dog’s nails, on the victim’s skin, or in the areas surrounding the location of the dog attack, can lead to infection as well. When bacteria existing at the injury site is either improperly treated, such as through medical negligence, or where the victim altogether fails to seek medical treatment, the potential for infection is increased greatly.

In some cases, infection occurs as a result of subsequent exposure to bacteria at the injury site, particularly in cases involving deep puncture wounds, large tears in the skin, or where a medical determination has been made to not immediately close the skin. Therefore, while it is vitally important that a victim seek immediate medical attention following the incident, as well as take appropriate measures in post-treatment wound care, it is equally important for a victim to remain cognizant of the potential for infection. Some of the most common bacterial infections that can result from a dog bite or dog attack, include:

Pasteurellosis. Most commonly caused by Pasteurella bacterium, which most dogs naturally carry in their mouths. Symptoms, such as pain, redness or swelling will generally occur within 12 hours of the bite, and can progress rapidly. If left untreated, this infection can result in damage, sometimes permanent, to tissues, muscles, tendons, bones, and joints. In severe cases, the victim can develop meningitis.

Streptococcus. Similar symptoms to Pasteurella bacterium, but some victims may also experience fever, and in serious cases, the onset of shock may cause flu-like symptoms. Some patients may have other symptoms, such as a discharge in fluid or low blood pressure. If left untreated, this infection can cause harm to bodily tissue, and lead to a number of diseases.

Staphylococcus. Also presents Initial symptoms of redness, swelling, and pain, but can also cause drainage of fluid or pus. As the infection worsens, signs of shock and/or flu-like symptoms may occur. If the infection spreads to the bloodstream, sepsis can lead to serious complications, and even fatality. In addition, long term complications, such as recurrent septicemia.

Capnocytophaga. Rare, but serious infection. Because initial symptomology may resemble Pasteurellosis, Steptococcus, or Staphylococcus, it is important to seek immediate medical attention when any warning signs of infection are present. In addition to sepsis, meningitis, and gangrene, this infection can also lead to ocular infection, endocarditis and variety of other serious and fatal diseases.

Although some infections are more obvious, such as where redness, swelling, puss, or other external signs of infection are present, other infections affect the victim internally, and therefore may be more difficult to detect. Because infection can occur at any time, and for a variety of reasons, and may present varying symptomology, it is important that the victim of a dog attack remain aware of the causes, warning signs, and complications associated with infection. Proper awareness can aide in the prevention of serious and long-term damage, but more importantly, can potentially be lifesaving.

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