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What to Do if You Are Bitten by a Dog

DogBite

While dogs are supposedly man’s best friend, sometimes they don’t act like it. Dogs can get frightened or teased, and in response, bite or maul a person. They can end up causing serious injuries and even death.

Dog bites are very common. In the United States, 4.7 million dog bites occur every year. Of those, 800,000 require medical care. Nobody is immune to dog bites. Even your own dog can snap and attack you or your children. In fact, children and the elderly are the most at risk.

Dog bites often cause serious wounds that are deep and jagged in nature. If you are bitten by a dog, it is important to seek immediate medical care, even if the bite seems minor. A dog bite can become serious quickly, so follow these steps to protect yourself or your injured family member.

Clean the Wound

Infection is the biggest concern with a dog bite. You can reduce your risk by keeping the wound clean. Press on the wound slightly to allow the wound to bleed and release bacteria. Use mild soap and water to clean the area as soon as possible. If the wound is bleeding heavily, use a cloth to slow it down. Apply an antibiotic cream and a clean bandage.

Gather Documentation

Get information about the dog and its owner. Get the owner’s name and contact information. Ask to see proof of current rabies vaccination. The dog should be current on other vaccinations as well. Call the dog’s vet to make sure.

See the Doctor the Same Day

You should try to see a doctor as soon as possible, preferably the same day. If your primary care doctor is unavailable, go the emergency room of your closest hospital. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to develop an infection. This is especially true if you have diabetes or a compromised immune system.

If there is a risk of infection, you will likely be given antibiotics. You may also be given a tetanus shot, if you are not current. You may be given stitches if the cut is on the face or could leave a bad scar, Generally, though, dog bites are left open to heal.

Follow Doctor’s Orders

When it comes to dog bites, doctors know best. Take any medications as recommended. If you have stitches, keep the area clean and bandaged. Attend any necessary follow-up appointments. Let your doctor know if you develop an infection. Symptoms include redness, swelling, fever and pain.

Contact a Clearwater Dog Bite Attorney Today 

Dog bites can cause physical and psychological trauma. Besides lacerations, victims can face nerve damage, scarring and broken bones. Many deal with pain and suffering and other emotional distress. Some cases cause permanent injuries and can be especially devastating for children.

The Clearwater dog bite lawyers at Roman & Roman, P.A. can assess your case and determine liability. While Florida operates primarily under strict liability, sometimes comparative negligence may apply. We have offices in Clearwater, Hudson and Tampa, Florida. Call (877) 767-1032 and schedule a free consultation.

Resources:

avma.org/public/Pages/Dog-bite-emergencies.aspx

caninejournal.com/dog-bite-statistics/

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2274 FL-580
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