Yes, swelling is normal after a dog bite, but increased swelling after the initial first aid can be a sign of infection. Dog bites may be dirty wounds that are prone to infection.
First Aid for a Minor Dog Bite
An animal bite, or a dog bite that breaks but does not rip or tear the skin, might be a minor wound that you can take care of at home. You can use lots of soap and water to clean the wound thoroughly. Use an antibiotic cream and keep the bite covered with a sterile bandage. Check it frequently for signs of infection, until it heals entirely.
No matter how minor the bite, you should verify that the animal was up-to-date on rabies shots. If you cannot absolutely confirm that, you should see your doctor about the risk of rabies, even for an insignificant looking dog bite.
When to Get Medical Attention for a Dog Bite
In most cases, you should seek professional medical care for a dog bite, for these reasons:
- To determine if you need to take steps for rabies prevention
- To avoid infection
- To minimize scarring and disfigurement
- To document when the injury happened and the circumstances of the dog bite, in the event you decide to pursue legal action
Even if your own dog bit you and you know the animal was current on rabies shots, you should seek medical attention if:
- It is a deep puncture wound.
- You are not sure how severe the injury is.
- You have a lot of bleeding.
- The skin is badly torn or crushed.
- The wound is in a conspicuous location that could cause disfigurement.
Warning Signs of Infection of an Animal Bite
If your dog bite injury is red, swollen, oozing, or painful, get medical attention without delay. These symptoms are signs of infection that could develop quickly into a medical crisis.
Compensation for a Dog Bite
If someone else’s dog bit you, you might have a claim and recover compensation for a dog bite. Talk to a lawyer right away. You might be eligible for damages that can include your:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
When Treatment for a Dog Bite Can Be Medical Malpractice
Although emergency rooms have protocols for the treatment of dog bites, sometimes doctors and nurses make mistakes. You might have a claim for medical malpractice if the medical professional:
- Failed to give rabies shots when appropriate
- Failed to administer a tetanus shot
- Did not clean or dress the wound correctly, and you developed an infection
- Failed to refer you to a plastic surgeon when appropriate, to prevent excessive scarring and disfigurement
How to Get Legal Help for a Dog Bite
At the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC, we help people who suffer harm from the negligence of others. If someone else’s dog bit you or you think your medical treatment was flawed, we can help you explore whether you might have a claim for compensation.If you call us at 404-474-0804, we will set up your free consultation and case evaluation. There is no obligation, and we never charge legal fees until you get paid for your damages.