What Are The Signs of Dog Bite Infection?


Written and reviewed by Peter Zneimer, Zneimer & Zneimer P.C.

The dog bite lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. have handled many dog bite cases over the years and one characteristic of these cases stands out is the high percentage of dog bite wounds that become infected and require hospitalization. Another thing we have noticed is that clients sometime put of going to the doctor even when the wound shows clear signs of infection.  The question: “How long should I wait before going to the doctor if my dog bite wound shows signs of infection?” is easy to answer.  The answer is immediately.

For very minor dog bites that barely puncture the skin, thoroughly washing the wound with soap and warm water, applying antibiotic cream and wrapping it up in a bandage might be adequate. For any wound that is deeper than just a minor puncture wound it is recommended that the bite victim press a clean cloth against the wound to stop the bleeding and seek medical treatment immediately.

In the days after receiving a dog bite wound, it is very important to monitor the bite site for signs of infection.  Dog bite infection symptoms may include the following:

  • redness and swelling around the wound and/or stitches
  • pain that is not subsiding
  • drainage coming from the wound
  • warmness around the wound area

The signs that the infection is bad and spreading and may require an immediate trip to the doctor or emergency room are:

  • fever
  • shivering
  • sweating

A doctor can more thoroughly clean the wound.  If there were stitches, the doctor can remove the stitches and open the wound for cleaning.  A doctor can also prescribe antibiotics.   It the infection is bad, the doctor can put the patient on on an antibiotic drip.

Bites on the feet or hands are more likely to get infected and should be closely monitored for signs of infection.

The most dangerous infections a person can get from a dog bites are tetanus, sepsis, rabies and capnocytophaga.  All these conditions can be fatal so it is important to call animal control and get the dog’s vaccination history. This information can aid your doctor in treating you.

The attorney’s of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. have experience handling many dog bite cases and know how dangerous infections can be.  We provide free consultations and we are conveniently located at 4141 N. Western Ave., Chicago IL.

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