When people hear the phrase “dog bite injury,” they usually think about bites from large, heavy breeds, like pit bulls, mastiffs and Dobermann Pinschers – not Shih Tzus or Chihuahuas.
While a small dog can’t inflict the kind of physical trauma that a large dog can, any dog bite is still a serious matter
Man’s best friend has a very dirty mouth
A dog’s teeth are designed to pierce and tear, so that means any dog bite can penetrate pretty deeply into someone’s skin and muscle. The deeper the wound, the more likely that bacteria will be transmitted – and dogs carry a lot of bacteria in their mouths.
Some of the most common infections caused by dog bites include:
- Staphylococcus: There are more than 30 kinds of staph infections that can lead to all kinds of problems, including sepsis – which is a deadly immunological response that can happen once the infection reaches someone’s bloodstream.
- Rabies: Although this is now rare in developed countries, rabies is still a concern with any dog bite if the dog hasn’t been properly inoculated. Victims may need to receive a series of painful shots to make sure they don’t contract the fatal disease.
- Tetanus: Tetanus can cause “lockjaw” and difficulty swallowing, and it’s a true emergency that requires antibiotics. The bacteria that will cause tetanus can easily enter the human body through a puncture wound.
- Capnocytophaga: This is another common type of bacteria that can be found in a dog’s mouth, and it can lead to joint pain, oozing wounds, fevers, vomiting and diarrhea.
No matter what size dog bit you, you need medical attention right away. That way, you can get the prophylactic treatment you need to prevent a serious injury.
If you’ve been bitten by another person’s dog, find out more about your legal options.