Most Common Injuries from Dog Bites and Their Treatments
Man’s best friend sometimes bites
The sad but irrefutable fact is that, sometimes, “the bestest boy in the whole world” bites someone. In fact, there are nearly five million dog bite incidents in the U.S. every year, and dozens of fatal dog attacks. Dog bites happen frequently enough that there is an official scale delineating the severity of dog bites, the Dunbar Bite Scale. It categorizes dog bites from LEVEL 1—aggressive, showing of teeth, snapping and growling, but no actual skin contact—all the way to LEVEL 6—death of the victim and/or flesh consumed.
Most common injuries from dog bites
Make no mistake, dog bites can cause serious injuries, even death as mentioned above. Here are the most common injuries caused by dog bites:
- Skin and soft tissue damage—Dog teeth are sharp, and the jaws of dogs, even small ones, are extremely powerful. They can tear and crush skin and muscle. A dog bite that does not break the skin can still crush and bruise skin and soft tissue, and cause abrasions.
- Puncture wounds—Because dog teeth are long and sharp, puncture wounds are common.
- Internal organ damage—A large dog is capable of penetrating a person’s chest wall and crushing the lungs. Other internal organs can be crushed, shredded, and lacerated, causing massive bleeding. Speaking of which…
- Blood loss—Dog bites, even relatively minor ones, can cause a great deal of bleeding.
- Broken and crushed bones—The bones of the hands and feet are particularly vulnerable to dog bite injuries.
- Head, neck, face, and eye injuries—Because it’s in the nature of many dog lovers to get down at their level, facial injuries are common, and can be catastrophic, causing loss of sense organs and permanent scarring.
- Nerve damage—Due to the nature of dog bites, significant nerve damage is possible.
- Bacterial infection—Contrary to old wives’ tales, a dog’s mouth is not clean. Bacterial infections from their bites can be extraordinarily dangerous if not properly treated.
- Rabies—Although rabies in the U.S. is rare (only one to three cases annually), it is nearly always fatal once symptoms appear.
Dog bite treatments
Regardless of the severity of a dog bite, immediate medical attention is crucial to avoid bacterial infection.
- Even if the skin hasn’t been broken, the bite area should be treated with warm water and soap, and an antibacterial agent.
- If the skin is broken, treat it as you would any wound, flushing the area with soap and warm water, and pressing on the wound. A small amount of bleeding helps to flush out any germs. Then stop the bleeding by applying a clean cloth, treat with an antibacterial agent, and apply a sterile bandage.
- No matter the severity of the wound, watch the area carefully for signs of infection—redness, swelling, or tenderness.
- Any dog bite more severe than a minor cut or abrasion should be immediately seen by qualified medical personnel. If you’re not sure, don’t take a chance. Err on the side of caution. There could be internal injuries or bleeding that’s not immediately apparent.
Dog bite personal injury claims
If you or a loved one is the victim of a dog bite incident, you could be entitled to compensation. Dog bite personal injury claims depend on the severity of the injury, liability laws where the incident happened, the statute of limitations, and many other factors. A lawyer with extensive dog bite litigation experience, along with the necessary staff and resources, is essential for you to recover the appropriate compensation.
If you or a family member has been involved in a dog bite incident, contact the attorneys at LaSalvia Law. We will fight to win you the compensation you deserve.