A lot of people have a somewhat justifiable fear of large dogs — after all, they have jaws that are capable of tearing flesh and crushing bone.
However, a bite from a small dog can be just as serious — although many people don’t realize it and may even brush off a nip from a nine-pound Shih Tzu before they realize they’ve actually been injured.
Why are all dog bites so dangerous, no matter the size of the dog? It’s because of the diseases that they carry in their mouths that can easily be transferred through a bite into an open wound.
What sort of infectious diseases do you need to be concerned about if you’ve been bitten?
1. Capnocytophaga canimorsus
This is a particularly nasty type of bacteria that lives in the mouths of otherwise perfectly healthy dogs. It’s estimated that three-fourths of all dogs are carrying the bacteria. While the canines suffer no particular harm from the bacteria, humans who have any type of problems with their immune system, small children and the elderly can all get quite sick.
One of the risks of any infection that you may not notice is when gangrene sets in and cell tissues die. At that point, you could be facing amputation of a finger, toe or limb.
While rabies is generally considered fairly rare these days in the United States, it’s still the cause of around 60,000 deaths each year around the globe. Unless you know the dog that bit you is current on his or her vaccinations, there’s always the possibility that you could fall victim.
Ringworm is a fungus that causes roundish, hairless patches on a dog — and it’s very transferable to humans While it can be treated, the treatment takes time and the creams can be costly to buy.
Don’t treat even a small dog’s bite as something to brush off. You need to consider the possibility that infection could set in, cause you to miss work, end up in the hospital or even have lasting scars. An attorney can help you if you’re interested in learning more about your rights following a dog bite injury and what you should do if you’ve been bitten.