Dog Bites: Symptoms, Common Diseases, Treatment, and Preventions


Even the most placid dogs have the potential to bite if they are hurt, scared, or too aroused. It doesn’t matter how big the dog is or what breed it is; a bite from any animal may inflict open sores on the skin, which puts the victim at a greater risk of infection. It is essential to have a thorough understanding of the dangers that are posed by an infection caused by a dog bite, as well as to take the appropriate precautions, in order to safeguard both your health and your legal standing.

Infections arise whenever bacteria, germs, or other potentially contagious infections are able to enter the body, most often via a cut or other break in the skin. The Academy of Pediatrics estimates that between 10 and 15 percent of dog bites result in infections being contracted. Dog bites that are not properly cleaned and treated by a medical professional run the danger of becoming infected and these diseases may be passed on to other people via the germs that cause them.

Although it is true that open wounds on the skin might raise the risk of infections, open gashes are not the only way infections can arise in the human body. Infections may also take place as a result of other factors, such as breathing in airborne particles, consuming contaminated food or drink, or coming into touch with infected body fluids.

How soon after a dog bite does illness begin to manifest itself?

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dog bite infection symptoms

Infection may develop at any point in time after a dog bite; however, the onset of symptoms can vary widely depending on a number of circumstances. The size and depth of the wound, the location of the bite, the severity of the damage, and the overall health of the individual who was bitten are all factors that come into play here.

In most cases, the risk of infection is greatest for wounds or bites that deeply penetrate the skin, such as puncture wounds. It is possible for germs to get trapped within these sorts of wounds, which increases the risk of infection. Yet, even minor bite wounds have the potential to get infected if they are not cleansed correctly or if the dog’s mouth contains germs.

After being bitten by a dog, you may not experience any signs of illness right away. It can take a few hours or it might take a few days for symptoms to start showing up. It’s possible that the symptoms won’t show up for a week or longer after the bite in certain instances.

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In most cases, redness, swelling, and warmth surrounding the incision are the first indications that an infection has set in. There is a possibility that the area where you were bitten may hurt or feel painful. When the illness spreads, you may observe pus or discharge coming from the site, along with a fever, chills, and enlarged lymph nodes close to the region where you were bitten.

The Most Common Diseases Caused by Dog Bites


The bacterium known as Pasteurella, which may be found in a dog’s mouth, can be passed on to a human when the dog punctures their skin. Cellulitis is a serious skin illness that may be brought on by the bacteria in question. In most cases, the symptoms of this illness manifest themselves anywhere from two to twenty-four hours after a dog bite. These symptoms include redness, swelling, soreness, and pus surrounding the site.

In the event that symptoms manifest, the victim is required to seek emergency medical attention. Untreated Pasteurella infections may result in a variety of consequences, including the ones listed here:

  • Infections that affect the bones, joints, and tendons
  • Pneumonia.
  • UTI is short for urinary tract infection.
  • An ailment of the eye
  • Meningitis.
  • Infection of the blood

Staph and strep infections

The germs Staphylococcus or Streptococcus are responsible for staph and strep infections. The first symptoms are similar to those of a Pasteurella infection and may also result in cellulitis. Blood poisoning and pneumonia are two of the most serious consequences that may arise from this illness.


While rabies is not the most prevalent virus that may be contracted from a dog bite, it is still one of the most dangerous. Rabies is a viral illness that may be passed from an animal to a human by its saliva if the animal scratches or bites the human. If a person has been attacked by a dog, they should seek medical attention as soon as possible to assess whether or not they need treatment to avoid rabies.

Rabies is an infectious disease that, once it has developed symptoms in a person, is almost always deadly. The early symptoms are comparable to those of the flu and may last for several days or perhaps for a longer period of time. Additional chronic symptoms include the following:

  • Fever.
  • Headaches.
  • Nausea and vomiting are present.
  • Anxiety.
  • Agitation.
  • Confusion.
  • Insomnia.
  • Swallowing is difficult, and there is an excessive amount of saliva.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Partial paralysis.
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Capnocytophaga is a less common kind of bacterial illness that may be passed on by a dog bite or scratch. Those with compromised immune systems, those who have trouble fending off infections (such as those with HIV or cancer), and those who use steroids have an increased likelihood of acquiring this illness.

The majority of bite victims will begin experiencing symptoms within three to five days after the incident, although it may take as long as 14 days for capnocytophaga to completely reveal itself. In addition to blisters surrounding the lesion, other symptoms include edema, pus, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and headaches. Moreover, capnocytophaga may result in life-threatening consequences such as the following:

  • Sepsis.
  • Heart attack.
  • Deficiency of the kidneys
  • Gangrene.
  • Amputations.

Taking care of dog bites and avoiding infection are both important

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It is vitally necessary to get medical assistance after being bitten by a dog in order to avoid infection and any other complications that may arise from the wound. When the dog has made a hole in the person’s flesh, microorganisms may enter the body and cause an infection, which may lead to tetanus, rabies, or sepsis.

It is possible that dog bites may be treated at home without the need for medical attention. If you can clean small wounds right away, you probably won’t need to go to the hospital. Nevertheless, there are several treatments that you may begin immediately after a bite in order to improve the healing process:

  1. Cleansing the wound with soap and warm water and removing any germs that may be present will help avoid infection.
  2. Place an antimicrobial ointment on the wound, and then apply a clean towel to the area in order to staunch the flow of blood.
  3. Dress the wound with a clean bandage.
  4. Keep a close watch on the wound in case there are any indications of infection.

Why is Seeking a Professional Help Important? 

A doctor or medical professional should be contacted almost immediately even if the wound is not severe. They should be able to discern the fatality of the wound, and the best treatment to administer. 

A syringe will most likely be used by the medical professional to provide water and a cleaning solution to the wound. This helps to drain out any germs that may be present in the wound. Antibiotics are therefore often prescribed by the attending physician in order to rid the body of any germs that may have invaded it and to avoid infection.

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In addition, a medical professional will be able to inspect the wound to check for any damage to the body’s underlying structures, such as the nerves or the bones.

If the individual has not had a tetanus vaccination within the last five years, it is recommended that they get one in order to lower their chance of contracting tetanus.

If it has been more than 5 years since a person’s last tetanus injection, I’d recommend that individuals who have a nasty wound get a booster dosage of the tetanus vaccine.

The following are some symptoms of an infection:

In the following, we will discuss some of the warning signs of a significant problem according to the particular sickness. If you or a member of your family has been the victim of a dog attack, we would like to offer you a brief summary of some indications that you should watch out for:

  • The wound was oozing fluid all throughout.
  • numbness and loss of feeling in the area where the dog bite occurred
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Sweating at night
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Weakness or tremors in the muscles
  • Hardness or lump beneath the skin after a dog bite

If the victim is suffering any of the aforementioned symptoms after being bitten by a dog, you should seek medical attention as quickly as possible and, if required, the advice of a lawyer. We urge you to do so. A dog bite that is infectious has to be regarded very carefully.

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The most effective method for preventing infections caused by dog bites is to avoid being bitten by dogs in the first place. These are some techniques for avoiding dog bites:

  • Always use caution while approaching strange pets.
  • Dogs should not be disturbed when they are resting, eating, or taking care of their pups in any way.
  • If a dog comes up to you, you should not move and you should avoid establishing eye contact.
  • Curl yourself into a ball and place your hands over your head and neck if you are ever knocked down by a dog.
  • Instruct your children not to approach strange dogs or dogs that they are not acquainted with very well.

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