When you are bitten by a dog, the first question you’ll be asked is if the dog has had its shots. Doctors are concerned about rabies, a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system. Fortunately, contracting rabies is rare in the United States. The few rabies deaths that occur are usually due to exposure to bats.
But, this doesn’t mean that a dog bite isn’t something to worry about. Dogs carry more than 300 potentially dangerous bacteria in their mouths. When a dog bites, bacteria are transferred from the dog’s mouth to the dog bite victim’s skin, muscles, bones, and blood. When the bacteria multiply, they cause infection.
5 Common Dog Bite Infections
- Pasteurellosis: Pasteurellosis is an infection caused by the bacteria Pasteurella. Pasteurella is present in the mouths of almost all cats and dogs. The bacteria can also cause cellulitis, a serious infection of the skin.
- Strep and staph infections: Streptococcus and Staphylococcus are very common bacteria, both in the environment and in the mouths of pets. Dog bite victims with strep or staph infections from dog bites may experience pain, redness and swelling at the site of the bite. An untreated infection can spread quickly and cause a type of blood poisoning called bacteremia. Some strep and staph bacteria are antibiotic resistant.
- E. coli infection: You may have heard of Escherichia coli because the bacteria, which lives in the digestive tract of mammals, is often associated with food poisoning. However, E. coli that enters the body through a bite can also cause a serious infection.
- Fusobacterium: Fusobacterium is another type of bacteria that is found in most dogs and cats. Fusobacterium can cause life-threatening meningitis in dog bite victims.
- Capnocytophaga: Capnocytophaga is an especially deadly type of bacteria that lives on the teeth of dogs and cats. Thirty percent of humans infected with Capnocytophaga die from the infection.
Even a minor dog bite can become infected. See a doctor after any Philadelphia dog bite, especially if you experience fever, flulike symptoms, or redness, pain or swelling at the site of the bite. The owner of the dog will be responsible for your medical expenses.
Pennsylvania dog bite victims may also seek compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, and any other expenses related to the bite. To learn more about your legal options, please call Mednick, Mezyk & Kredo, P.C., at 888-807-WORK (9675).