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  4.  | Dog bite severity and treatment

Dog bite severity and treatment

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2022 | Dog bite injuries

There are approximately 5 million dog bites reported to police annually, many of which occur in Texas. Most dog bite injuries are minor, some are more serious. Even in the most minor cases, a dog bite should be reacted to with caution. If the bite did not break the skin, it’s a good idea to clean the area with soap and rinsing with water for around five minutes. More serious dog bite wounds require more substantial treatments.

Treating dog bite punctures

If a person is bitten by a dog and the skin is punctured, the risk of serious injuries or complications is significantly increased. There may be damage to nerves, ligaments, tendons, muscle tissue or bones, even if that damage is not visible. A dog’s saliva may also harbor bacteria that can be dangerous. When the skin is punctured, precautions must be taken against complications from that bacteria. Treatment of dog bites that puncture the skin include a medical examination.

Dog bite complications and infections

Common bacteria that can be present in dog bite injuries include Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Proteus, Enterobacter and Fusobacterium. Not all medical professionals will immediately prescribe antibiotics in dog bite cases, preferring to use a wait-and-see approach unless there is other reason to believe antibiotics are necessary. Others will prescribe antibiotics right away. In any case, it’s a good idea to seek medical treatment if a dog bite punctures the skin.

Treating serious dog bite injuries

In a case where the dog bite injuries are more serious, the first step is to call 911. The victim should not be moved if there may have been injury to the bones or spine. If the victim is bleeding, pressure should be applied to stop the bleeding. Medical treatment may or may not include x-rays and stitches. Sometimes stitches are not used because tightly closing the wound can increase the risk of infection. Knowing the right response to a dog bite injury can reduce the level of harm caused thereby.

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