We’ve seen a great number of dog attacks in Milwaukee, Racine and West Allis. I’m not sure whether it is kids walking for Halloween or the moderate weather and everyone is just taking advantage of clear sidewalks before the snow comes. But, there is a definite uptick in calls about injuries from vicious dogs.
We’ve asked a doctor to give some thoughts about treatments after a dog bite. Certainly, the best practice is to call 911 and ask for an ambulance or just go the ER or urgent care. Here is some interesting, and useful info, about treatment after a dog bite and attack:
Domestic animals, like dogs, are responsible for most animal bites. Injuries from a dog bite make up 85 to 90 percent of animal bites. There are more than 4.5 million dog bites that occur each year in the U.S, half of them children between ages 5 and 9 and are more likely to be injured than adults. Approximately 900,000 dog bite victims seek emergency medical care at hospitals in the U.S. every year. One out of every five of those bites causes an injury that requires medical attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and more than 25,000 victims require reconstructive surgery.
Bites that don’t break the skin are not at risk for infection. Injuries often occur on the fingers or hands. These may involve structures deep beneath the skin including muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels. Infection from dog bites is caused by bacteria. They can be found in the mouth or saliva of the dog. The bacteria then enter the wound after being on the skin or from the environment. Infections like tetanus and rabies need to be considered because these are fatal diseases affecting the nervous system if left untreated. Tetanus and rabies are caused by bacteria and virus respectively.
What to do If Bitten by a Dog
The dog bite victim should go to a safe place away from the assailant dog to prevent further attack. Dog bites may cause laceration or puncture of skin, muscles or bones. Medical care should be accessed by a healthcare practitioner if there is a pain at or near the injury site as well. If there is only a minimal abrasion/bruise present, it is reasonable to watch for signs of infection (pain, redness, warmth, swelling, and drainage of pus or fluid) if the victim elects not to seek medical care.
The immunization status of the dog must be determined immediately by asking the owner that the vaccination is up to date or not including rabies and find out if the dog was provoked or not. Anyone who is bitten by a dog is at risk of getting rabies. Exposure to a rabid animal does not always result in rabies if treatment is initiated promptly following a rabies exposure, rabies can be prevented. If a rabies exposure is not treated and a person develops clinical signs of rabies, the diseased almost always results in death.
First Aid for Dog Bites
Although we can provide first aid for a dog bite at home, it’s very important to see a doctor, especially if the dog is unfamiliar, the bite is deep, you can’t stop the bleeding, or there are any signs of infection. The first step with a dog bite is to properly clean and assess the wound. The following steps could help prevent infection:
Wounds should be kept elevated and, if possible, wash the wound with soap and tap water.Don’t use cotton to prevent bleeding, apply a sterile bandage instead.Use betadine or another antibiotic ointments to prevent infection from external environment.If the wound is deep, apply pressure with a clean, dry cloth to stop the bleeding.Dog bites can cause infections that need to be treated with antibiotics.
These are some good thoughts about care after a dog bite. We can’t stress enough the important of getting immediate medical care. Better safe than sorry.
As always, please call Groth Law Firm, S.C. with any questions. We are happy to discuss your situation and will give you and honest answer if there is a case or if there is no need to hire an attorney. Our initial consultations are always free.