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Dog bites: More than damage from punctures or scratches

6/17/2016

While you probably think of dog bites being dangerous because of the violent wounds they can cause, there are other risks of having dogs and other pets in the home or around your property. When you or a child is attacked by a dog or other pet, know that there are more risks than the scratch or bite injury itself. Infection and diseases are other concerns that you should have.

Zoonotic diseases are illnesses that you can catch from an animal. These illnesses can be passed between species, and it could be very easy for the disease to pass if you’re bitten or licked by one of these other creatures. Even after touching an animal it’s important to wash your hands; if you’re bitten, that saliva is pushed deep into the wound, which is why it’s so important to get medical help to have the wounds sterilized.

For instance, if you’re bitten or in contact with a dog when pregnant, you could be at risk of toxoplasmosis. Dogs pick up the disease by rolling in cat feces in the yard, and then they may bite or scratch the feces on their bodies, transferring it to their claws and teeth. This disease can last up to a month and causes flu-like symptoms. Unfortunately, developing babies can suffer from brain damage and eye damage because of in utero exposures.

Dog bites are responsible for around a quarter of all animal-related visits to emergency rooms in the United States each year. Scratches and bites may not appear to be serious, but the bacteria that can be transferred from the animal to your body poses a risk. Even if you wash the wound, the bacteria could be under the skin, which is why you need to go to the emergency room even for the most minor bites. Your attorney can help you understand your rights as a victim after you receive the medical care you need.

Source: Deseret News, “Turtles, frogs and other pets your family probably shouldn’t own,” Jennifer Graham, June 06, 2016

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