Dog Bite Infection
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Dog Bite Infection

A dog bite infection can usually be treated with antibiotics, but there are a few dreaded dog bite infections where antibiotics will not suffice, including Rabies and Tetanus. The most common dog bite infections are however the result of bacteria and can thus be treated using some form of antibiotics. The mouth of a dog can contain a rich assortment of different types of bacteria and when the teeth penetrates the skin the bacteria is transferred into the wound. 

A cat or dog bite infection is often caused by Pasteurella multocida, Staphylococcus aureus,
Pseudomonas sp or Streptococcus sp. P. multocida. There is however a wide range of other bacteria that can, and frequently does, cause a dog bite infection.

The risk of developing a dog bite infection, and how serious the infection becomes, is affected by several interacting factors. The location of the wound plays an important role, and the type of injury and its size is naturally also important to take into account. Unlike cats, who have sharp, needle like teeth, dogs rarely produce puncture wounds that are hard to spot on the surface. Dog bites are instead known to cause crushing injuries and damage bones, muscles, ligaments, blood vessels and nerves. The damage of the skin is often severe and impossible not to see. Lacerations and tearing is common.

Action taken after the dog bite will also affect the risk of developing a serious dog bite infection. If you have been bitten by a dog, you should wash the wound and the surrounding area using soap and water. The wound should ideally be rinsed under running water for at least three minutes. You can then use a sterile compress to protect the wound. The wound should be able to “breathe” through the compress. In many cases, prompt medical attention is required, since the dog may have transmitted rabies or the wound requires stitches. Delaying treatment increases the risk of a serious dog bite infection. If you decide not to seek medical attention, you should monitor the wound closely for the next few days and be alert to any sign of dog bite infection. Also keep in mind that rabies and tetanus do not necessary manifest around the wound; the symptoms of these lethal dog bite infections are often more general.

Dog bite infection – Rabies

Rabies is caused by the rabies virus and can therefore not be cured using antibiotics. This dog bite infection can however be prevented using a vaccine, even if you have already been bitten. The exact procedure varies from country to country and it is common to receive a combination of several different shots. One commonly spread method consists of giving the victim one dose of immunoglobulin and five doses of rabies vaccine. Directly after the accident, 50 percent of the immunoglobulin is injected near the wound, while the remaining 50 percent is injected intramuscularly. The first dose of rabies vaccine should also be administered as soon as possible after the accident. The following four doses of rabies vaccine are administered after three days, after one week, after two weeks and after one month.

If you know that you have an increased risk of getting a dog bite infection, e.g. because your work with stray dogs, you can receive pre-exposure vaccination. If you get bitten after receiving pre-exposure vaccination, you still have to receive medical treatment but you do not have to get immunoglobulin – only five shots of rabies vaccine.

Dog Bite Articles

Child Dog Bite - An article about what to do if your child get bitten by a dog.
Dog Bite Injury - An article about how to treat dog bite injuries.
Dog Bite Law - An article about the legal aspects of dog bites.
Dog Bite Lawyer - An article about dog bite lawyers and how to find one.
Insect Bite on Dog - An article about insect bites on dogs and how to treat them.
Snake Bites in Dogs - An article about snake bites in dogs and how to treat them.
Why Dogs Bite - An article about why some dogs bite.