Most people are aware of the immediate physical damage that a dog bite can cause: broken bones, cuts and other injuries. However, the damage done by the bite itself is only one challenge that people experience after a dog attacks. If that wound becomes infected, the injured person can face even further risk to their health.

What should people know about the risk of infection after a dog bite?

How common are infections after a person experiences a dog bite?

The risk of infection after a dog bite is high, and infection can be an even more significant risk if the bite impacts a person with more delicate health or a more delicate part of the body. Dog bites in children lead to infections in as many as 20 percent of cases, and the risk of infection increases if the bites impacted a person’s hands or feet.

What kinds of infections may occur?

Even with proper wound care, the array of microbes in a dog’s mouth can lead to a variety of different infections if they enter a wound. Some of the many infections that could impact a person after a dog bite include:

  • Rabies
  • Tetanus
  • Staphylococcus
  • Streptococcus
  • Pasteurella

Any of these infections can cause pain, swelling and difficulty moving, and some can cause fever, shaking or other serious complications. These infections can require antibiotics and other ongoing treatment to resolve.

Because infections do not take hold for some time, it can be important for injured people to seek medical attention immediately after a bite. Not only does this allow them to care for their wound, it also creates documentation linking the infected wound to the dog bite and laying the groundwork for legal action if necessary.