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Dog Bite Treatment

Posted in Blog on May 24, 2013

When and When Not to Go to the Doctor

Dogs are remarkable animals, possessing keen intelligence and an unparalleled devotion to humans. As wonderful as dogs are, however, at certain times they present a significant danger to people. Dogs bite over 4 million people a year in the United States alone. In the end, they are animals, and even the most familiar animal can be hard to read and unpredictable.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that one out of every five dog bites requires medical attention. So what happens with the other 4 out of 5 bites? Hopefully, these other bites are not severe enough to need medical attention. This seems plausible, since most bites appear to be intended by the dog as warnings, rather than to cause serious harm. Chances are, though, that the average person may not know when a bite is bad enough to need a doctor.

How bad is bad enough?

Your reaction to a dog bite, and your decision to go to a doctor, should be based on solid evidence. Often, people do not want to go to the doctor for fear of getting the dog or dog owner in trouble, but there are far greater risks from letting a bad bite go untreated. You should visit the doctor if your bite exhibits any of the following symptoms:

  • Skin disruption – the bite has punctured, torn or lacerated the skin
  • Pain at the injury site – dogs have powerful jaws, and it is possible that the bite could have caused internal damage to ligaments or tendons.
  • If the bite only shows signs of minimal abrasion or little pain, it is okay to watch it for a few days for signs of infection or injury.

How to treat a dog bite before you go to the doctor

A dog bite can be a traumatizing experience. This can be especially true if you know the dog that bit you. Whether you feel betrayed by the animal, or regretful and worried that you were to blame, you must treat the bite. The sooner you can administer treatment the better, even if you are planning on going to the doctor.

Quick treatment will help prevent infection, so it is important to follow these steps as soon as you can after the bite occurs.

WebMD recommends the following for treating your bite:

  • If there is bleeding, press a clean towel against the wound.
  • Elevate the injured area.
  • Use warm soap and water to wash the bite.
  • After you have cleaned and dried the wound, apply a clean bandage.
  • To prevent infection, regularly apply antibiotic ointment.

The doctor will ask questions

If you do make a trip to the doctor for your bite, the doctor will require that you answer some questions about the incident and the dog involved in it. These questions are asked to ensure that you are treated properly in case of a risk of rabies, as well as to determine if the dog is a threat to other people.

WebMD points out that the doctor will likely ask you the following questions:

  • Is the owner of the dog known to you?
  • Are all the dog’s vaccinations current, including rabies?
  • Was the bite provoked, or unprovoked?
  • Do you have any health conditions? Complications can arise when bite victims have health issues such as diabetes or immune deficiency diseases and so on.

Remember, if it was your dog or you know the dog, it is unlikely that it will come to any harm if this was the first bite incident. Animal control may ask you to keep it inside for a certain period of time, and of course its vaccinations will have to be verified, but the dog should be okay if it is not a problem dog.

These questions are asked to stop dogs that are dangerous from causing any more harm, such as if you are bitten by a stray or by a dog that could have rabies.

When you are bitten by a dangerous dog

Just last year Denver news anchor Kyle Dyer was bit on the lip by a dog on live television. She had to have reconstructive surgery, but she realized that she was mostly to blame for putting her face directly in front of a strange dog.

Sometimes, though, you are not at fault. If you have been injured by a dog through no fault of your own, our Denver injury attorneys are here to help you get compensation for your injuries. Please contact our office today to find out how we can help you set things right.

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