The very worst dog bite attacks can lead to permanent injuries, disfiguring wounds or even fatalities. The average dog bite incident is much less serious than that. The bite might require stitches, but won’t break a bone or cause lasting bodily damage.
For individuals who suffer a mild to moderate dog bite, the worst risk isn’t in the moment when the dog attacks but in the days after the attack. Specifically, they have to protect themselves from a potential infection in those deep puncture wounds left by the dog’s teeth.
Infections are a common complication of animal bites
If a dog has access to the garbage, it will eat rotting food. In fact, it might even eat the feces of other animals, like house cats if they can get into the litter box. A dog’s mouth can be a very disgusting place, and their long, sharp teeth are particularly good at causing deep wounds that lead to infection.
Surprisingly, dogs are actually less likely to cause infections than other pets. Experts estimate that between 10 and 15% of dog bites lead to infections, while almost 50% of cat bites cause infections. Still, infection is a noteworthy concern after a dog bites a person.
Depending on the nature of the infection and how quickly someone seeks medical care, the consequences might be some medical bills and a day or two off of work. Other people may develop systemic infections or be at risk of losing a limb or extremity if the infection is severe enough.
Even if you try to clean the wound out at home, an infection could still set in, which means getting medical treatment after a dog bite attack is important. You may also need to file an insurance claim to cover those medical bills, especially if you need treatment like stitches and a round of antibiotics. Knowing the risks that come from a dog bite attack will help you better respond if you ever experience one.