Dog Bite Complications

Dog Bite Complications

Being bitten by a dog can result in devastating injuries, causing permanent scarring, disfigurement, and even disability. Fortunately, Iowa’s strict liability law means that dog bite victims are often able to recover compensation for related losses, including medical expenses and lost wages, so if you or a loved one were recently attacked by someone else’s dog, it is important to contact an experienced Iowa dog bite attorney who can help you file a claim.

Typical Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bite injuries have become increasingly common in recent years as pet ownership grows ever more popular. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as many as 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. every year. These statistics cover a wide range of dog bite-related injuries, including:

  • Puncture wounds, which typically result in excessive bleeding, bruising, and scarring;
  • Lacerations, or deep cuts in the skin, which often damage the ligaments, muscles, blood vessels, and bones; and
  • Crushing injuries, which involve the breaking, fracturing, or crushing of a person’s bones.

How these types of injuries are treated depends on a number of factors, including the kind of injury in question. For instance, many puncture wounds do not require stitching, but only regular cleaning and bandaging. More penetrating injuries, on the other hand, including deep lacerations, almost always require some type of surgical repair and physical rehabilitation. Similarly, broken bones will need to be set or may even need to be surgically repaired with pins and rods. These treatments become much more painful and expensive when there are complications with the injury, an occurrence that is relatively common with dog bites.

Potential Dog Bite Complications

Unfortunately, besides the pain and trauma that goes hand in hand with dog bite injuries, victims are also at risk of suffering from severe complications that are specific to dog bites, including infection. In fact, the CDC estimates that as many as one in five dog bites become infected. This increased likelihood of infection is due to the fact that dogs carry a number of different strains of bacteria in their mouths that are dangerous to humans, including:

  • Pasteurella, which is the most common kind of bacteria transmitted through a dog’s bite and results in pain, swelling, and redness at the site of the wound;
  • Staphylococcus, which can cause fevers, joint swelling, and skin infections;
  • Clostridium tetani, which produces a toxin (tetanus) that affects the brain and nervous system, leading to cramping in the jaw, muscle spasms and stiffness, and difficulty swallowing;
  • Rabies, which is a virus that is transmitted through an animal’s saliva and causes inflammation of the brain; and
  • Capnocytophaga, which can cause kidney failure, heart attack, and gangrene.

Patients who are diagnosed with one of these types of infections after being bitten by a dog usually require wound drainage, intravenous antibacterial medications, and in serious cases, even amputation.

Signs of an Infection

The types of bacteria and viruses that are present in a dog’s mouth can begin affecting a person’s health within hours of being bitten, making it especially important for dog bite victims to keep an eye out for certain symptoms, which are indicative of infection, including:

  • Inflammation around the site of the wound;
  • Increased redness;
  • Fever or chills;
  • Drainage from the wound;
  • Tenderness near the bite;
  • Unexplained fatigue;
  • Breathing difficulties; and
  • Tremors or muscle weakness.

Diagnosing a specific kind of infection based on symptoms and lab tests will determine the type of treatment that a person requires. Although expensive, the cost of these treatments can often be recovered from the owner of the dog that bit the victim.

Contact Our Office Today

If you were bitten by someone else’s dog, you could be entitled to compensation. Please call the Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP at 712-325-9000 to learn more about how an experienced Iowa dog bite lawyer can help with your claim.

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