Do I need to get medical treatment for a dog bite?
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Let's get the answer out of the way quickly: yes, you need to get medical treatment as soon as you can after you are bit by a dog. There are a number of major reasons why you need to seek medical care after a dog bite.
After you've seen a medical professional and had your dog bite injuries treated, you may want to call a top dog bite lawyer in Missouri. The Missouri Injury Law Firm has experience winning dog bite injury cases for its clients: contact them or phone (636 333-1717) today for a free consultation.
WHY EVEN SMALL DOG BITE INJURIES NEED TREATMENT
While small, surface-level dog bites can easily be treated at home with antiseptic ointment and bandages, there's a good reason why you need to see a medical professional for even the smallest of bites: bacteria and infections. The mouths of dogs carry much more different bacteria than humans because their digestive system breaks down food in different ways than human beings. Veterinarians from the University of Pennsylvania have identified 600 different types of bacteria that exists in the mouth of an average dog. (For context, a Harvard study found that humans have about 615 different types of bacteria in our mouths.) Some of this bacteria, like staphylococcus, streptococcus, or pasturella, easily causes infection within humans--and studies have shown that half of all dog bites introduce this bacteria into human beings. As such, it's incredibly important that you get treatment urgently if you have a dog bite, no matter how small.
KEEP UP ON YOUR SHOTS
Dogs often carry a number of diseases that can cause serious problems in humans and are transmitted via dog bite. Arguably the most well-known disease dogs can carry is rabies, which can cause fever, paralysis, and mental confusion in humans. But dogs can carry several other diseases in their saliva, including tetanus (best known for being acquired from rust, and which can cause all-over body pain, muscle spasms, and seizures) and sepsis (symptoms of which include clammy skin, shortness of breath, and extreme pain).
Luckily, scientists have developed vaccines against most of these diseases. However, it's up to you to make sure that your vaccination records are current and you've gotten all available booster shots.
A MATTER OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Getting medical treatment after you've been bit by a dog isn't just important for your own health, but also the health of others in your community. Rabies in humans is incredibly deadly if you have not been vaccinated against it: scientists have recorded only 13 cases worldwide where a person was infected with rabies and made a recovery. The fear of community transmission of rabies is one of the main reasons why dogs that bite humans are taken into custody by local animal control authorities. One of the first things vets check for while the dog is impounded is to see if it has been been vaccinated for rabies, and if not they are tested for the disease. If it turns out the dog is indeed rabid, it is put down.
CONTACT OUR MISSOURI DOG BITE LAWYERS TODAY
If you have been bit by a dog in Missouri, the first thing you should do is contact medical assistance--but the second call you make should be to an experienced Missouri dog bite lawyer. They can help you deal with insurance companies, pursue a legal action against the dog's owner, and get you the settlement you deserve.