How to Treat a Dog Bite

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five dog bites results in medical intervention. Over 4 million people nationwide experience dog bites, and half of them are children between the ages of 5 and 9. However, not all dog bites are serious enough to be treated at the emergency room, and simple first aid solutions can be applied to prevent infections and any potential health complications.

It is important to find out if the dog has been immunized against rabies. If the status cannot be determined, it is recommended to seek immediate medical care. If the dog has been immunized and the wounds are not significant, precautionary measures often suffice as the necessary self-treatment. These include the following:

  1. Washing the affected area with mild soap and water and rinsing with hydrogen peroxide.
  2. Placing a clean cloth over the wound to stop the bleeding.
  3. Settling the injured area in an elevated position.
  4. Applying antibiotic cream and securing the wound with sterile gauze and bandage.
  5. Taking over-the-counter pain medication to minimize the discomfort.

Should any redness, swelling, excessive warmth, or pus occur, the injured party should seek immediate medical attention.

Extensive injuries sustained due to the dog bites may require a doctor's intervention. Upon examination, the physician will be able to determine if there is any extensive damage to the underlying tissues, such as the muscles, nerves, and tendons. In addition, it will be diagnosed if any skeletal destruction is present, such as fractured or broken bones.

During this visit, the wounded area is anesthetized locally, allowing the attending physician to explore the extent of the injury. Should any extensive damage be observed, the patient may be scheduled for immediate corrective surgery to repair existing fractures and lacerations and to curb the progress of any potential infections. Typically, a dosage of antibiotics is administered prior to and post-treatment along with pain medications.

Depending on the location of the injury, it will be determined if suturing the skin will be beneficial or detrimental leading to future corrective cosmetic surgeries to prevent scarring. Facial wounds are generally subjected to the placement of sutures while other areas of the body may be left to heal on their own. The decision also greatly depends on the amount of skin lost as a result of the bite.

While most dog bites are easily manageable at home and often dismissed as minor, in some cases the damage sustained can be extensive and lead to physical and emotional distress. The attorneys at Carter Mario Personal Injury Lawyers offer practical and legal advice pertaining to animal attacks, including dog bite injuries. If you or a loved one has been involved in any sort of accident, you may be entitled to compensation, and the team at Carter Mario is here to fight for your settlement.