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Is a small dog’s bite anything to worry about?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2023 | Personal Injury

When people think of “dangerous dog bites” they generally think of big dogs, with powerful jaws, like the American Pit Bull or a Cane Corso. A small dog, like Shih Tzu or a Chihuahua, just doesn’t evoke the same kind of fear.

However, size doesn’t really matter when it comes to some dangers. Even the bite from a very small dog can actually be quite serious, especially when it comes to the source of infections.

Sharp teeth and deep puncture wounds

A dog’s canines are designed to puncture, and even a fairly small puncture wound can drive bacteria from the dog’s mouth deep into a victim’s body. Aside from the potential for rabies, a bite from a dog can also cause:

  • Pasteurella: This is one of the most common bacterial infections associated with dog bites, occurring in about 50% of cases. Symptoms can include redness, swelling and pustulant discharge around the wound, as well as significant pain.
  • Staphylococcus: Staph infections can be incredibly dangerous, as they can lead to antibiotic-resistant infections that can lead to numerous complications, including multi-system organ failure.
  • Capnocytophaga: This bacteria can cause redness, swelling and other signs of infection around the site of the wound, but it can also cause joint pain, fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Streptococcus: Strep infections can cause severe complications, including blistering and oozing from the wound, swollen joints and fever. Like staph infections, these can also be difficult to treat.
  • Tetanus: Tetanus can cause muscle stiffness and painful spasms, including a condition known as “lockjaw,” which can make it difficult for a victim to open their mouth or swallow. It can also lead to problems with a victim’s blood pressure, heart rate and seizures.

An infected dog bite can also lead to sepsis, or a systemic blood infection, which can quickly turn deadly.

In short, you really do need to be seen by a doctor for prophylactic treatment after any dog attack, even if the bite doesn’t seem serious at first – so don’t take chances. Additionally, it’s important to understand that seeking legal guidance can help you recover any of your losses and obtain fair compensation for your harm.