What to do for dog bites

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Being bitten by a dog is a frightening experience for many. Dogs can be territorial, can be instinctive or too playful and bites without realizing it. A person bitten by a dog who carries parvovirus or rabies virus needs emergency care immediately. A dog bite can also cause a serious bacterial infection of the bone called osteomyelitis and can become life-threatening if not treated immediately, whether or not the dog has parvovirus or rabies virus.

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Symptoms of dog bites

Dog bites are traumatic and very dangerous with high probability of infection especially if not treated. A dog’s saliva has many harmful bacteria and other dangerous pathogens that can be transmitted to the bite wound.

  • Swelling – swelling at the bite site is the most common indication of infection and develops in about eight hours.
  • An increased warmth around the dog bite and there is pus and white discharge coming out of the wound.
  • Lymph glands that become engorged or sensitive can indicate a dog bite infection.
  • There is a reddish streak on the legs or arms radiating from the wound.

A serious infection of dog bite can cause the following:

  • Meningitis
  • An inflammation of the bone marrow
  • Gangrenous arthritis
  • Death

A dog bite must never be left untreated. Any breaks in the skin caused by dog bites should be cleaned meticulously and watch for indications of infection. If there is swelling or oozing in the wounds, it is best to seek medical help right away.

Dog bite
A dog bite must never be left untreated. Any breaks in the skin caused by dog bites should be cleaned meticulously and watch for indications of infection.

A severe dog bite infection can also cause hallucination, if the dog has rabies. There is flu, headache and a high fever as well as muscle spasms and a sudden dislike for water. All of these symptoms indicate a rabies infection.

Tetanus and sepsis is another dog bite infection that can be transmitted through a dog bite wound. If the wound is infected with tetanus, the following can occur:

  • There is swelling and pain in the wound area
  • Headache and severe muscle spasms

Sepsis is also known as septicemia and blood poisoning. This can also result from a dog bite. Symptoms of sepsis include the following:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Exhaustion or collapse

Treatment for minor dog bites that can be done at home

You can perform the following first aid measures if an individual sustained a minor bite from a dog.

  • First, clean the wound immediately by running it under warm water for a few minute to ensure that it is cleaned properly.
  • You can encourage the wound to bleed. If it is no longer bleeding, lightly squeeze the bite site to make it bleed in order to prevent the bacteria from going into the wound.
  • For pain relief and to minimize the inflammation of the wound, you can provide over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen. If there is a risk of infection, seek medical attention.

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