Infected Dog Bite: How to Properly Care for a Festering Wound

Infected Dog Bite:

How to Care for a Festering Wound

Although dogs have long been considered man’s best friend, they are animals. Dogs sometimes behave in unexpected ways, and even a dog that is usually friendly may bite if threatened or surprised. It is important to take action as quickly as possible if you end up experiencing an infected dog bite.

Infected Dog Bite: How to Properly Care for a Festering Wound
IMAGE: Dineshraj Goomany, Flickr –

Assessing the Dog’s Vaccination Status

If possible, speak with the dog’s owner and ask for proof of the dog’s most recent vaccinations. Proof that the dog was vaccinated against dangerous viruses such as rabies is critical to your health. If you do not know who owns the dog or if the dog was a stray, you will need to call animal control and have the dog impounded and tested.

Getting Emergency Treatment

An infected dog bite requires emergency treatment. Dog bites can quickly worsen, and what looked red and swollen one day could be festering and oozing the next. Bacteria or viruses introduced through the dog’s saliva could travel through your bloodstream. Visit an emergency room to receive prompt care. You may be given a rabies vaccination, antiviral and antibiotic medications. You may need to return for a second rabies shot and for follow-up if you develop a fever or any other troubling symptoms.

Talking to a Lawyer

Dog owners are held liable through the law when their pet bites somebody. If the dog’s owner is not cooperating with your medical insurance and has not already offered to cover your expenses, talking to a lawyer could help to protect your rights. Professionals, can advise you on the best course of action in such a situation. A lawyer may also advise you on negotiating a settlement to pay for your lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering.

Caring for the Dog Bite at Home

After getting emergency treatment for the infected dog bite, you will need to do some self-care at home. Change the wound’s dressing as recommended by the emergency physician. A topical antibiotic and pain relief ointment may also help. Avoid scratching the area, as bacteria under your fingernails could worsen the situation. Apply cold compresses to reduce the swelling and pain.

An infected dog bite is a serious medical condition. Prompt treatment could prevent you from developing a life-threatening illness. If your medical expenses are not covered by insurance or you incur financial losses because of the dog bite, it is important to talk with a lawyer and protect your rights.

Animal Bliss - A really cool blog about Animals - domestic pets and wildlife too.

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Animal Bliss - A really cool blog about Animals - domestic pets and wildlife too.


Have you ever been bitten by a dog? How bad was it?

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Rachelle Wilber
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3 thoughts on “Infected Dog Bite: How to Properly Care for a Festering Wound”

  1. The bit about working with the dog’s owner to cover your insurance struck a chord with me, I’ve seen a lot of situations where dogs bite owners and it turns into a huge grey area about who’s responsible for what, insurance-wise. Specifically I know a couple people who were involved in a dog biting incident where they actually wound up having to pay out on it through their renter’s insurance on their home, rather than through any health insurance; it turns out a lot of renter’s insurance and homeowner’s insurance policies cover dog bites through their limited liability practice – but you need to be careful because not all of them do. It’s a lot of grey areas, to be sure.


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