You, or your child, were outside walking, playing in the yard, talking to a neighbor, or maybe simply enjoying some fresh air when an ordinary day turned into a medical emergency. A dog that wasn't yours bit you or your child. You may have had immediate concerns about pain, bleeding, and scarring, but those aren't the only risks from dog bite injuries. You could also suffer a severe infection.
At Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum, our Rhode Island dog bite lawyers want to help you get the full and fair recovery you deserve after any dog bite injury.
Types of Dog Bite Infections
Dog bites may introduce harmful bacteria into the body, leading to infections that can range from mild to severe. Here are some common types of infections that can result from dog bites:
Rabies is a viral infection that can be transmitted through a dog bite. Initial symptoms may mimic flu-like symptoms. However, as the infection progresses, neurological symptoms such as confusion, hallucinations, and paralysis may develop. Rabies can be fatal and requires immediate medical attention.
A tetanus infection may occur if bacteria enters a dog bite wound. Tetanus is a life-threatening condition. Symptoms of this type of infection may include muscle stiffness, muscle spasms, and difficulty swallowing.
Cellulitis is a bacterial skin infection that can develop due to a dog bite. It typically begins with symptoms around the bite area and, if left untreated, can lead to more severe complications.
Cellulitis symptoms may include:
- Pain and tenderness
Untreated cellulitis can cause serious illnesses, including:
- Skin abscesses
- Infection that spreads to surrounding tissues and enters the bloodstream
Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as staph, is another type of bacteria that can cause infections when introduced through a dog bite. While many staph infections are minor, they can escalate into more severe conditions if not properly managed. Some staph infection symptoms include:
- Pus-filled blisters
- Swollen lymph nodes
Severe staph infections may lead to:
- Bloodstream infections which can cause life-threatening sepsis
- Pneumonia from staph infections in the lungs
- Bone infections which can lead to a chronic condition known as osteomyelitis
Pasteurella bacteria are commonly found in the mouths of dogs and cats, and they can cause infections when introduced through a bite. Pasteurella symptoms include:
- Swollen glands
Pasteurella infections may be mild but can cause complications such as pneumonia, meningitis, cellulitis, and other medical conditions.
Capnocytophaga is a type of bacteria that can be transmitted through dog bites. Symptoms of a capnocytophaga infection can manifest as:
- Tenderness at the site of the wound
In more severe cases, individuals may experience gangrene, a condition that obstructs blood flow to the limbs, resulting in the death of body tissue. In instances where toes, fingers, or other limbs have been deprived of adequate blood flow for a significant duration, amputation may be necessary.