- May 3, 2017
- Personal Injury Law
Asheville residents who have been bitten by dogs often don’t know what kind of medical treatment they will need for their injuries. Some dog bite victims aren’t even sure they need treatment. However, even seemingly minor dog bite injuries can be a big problem if left untreated. Here are a few things you can expect when seeking treatment for a dog bite:
Medical tests after dog bites
Radiology: Serious dog bite injuries can break bones or tear connective tissue like ligaments and tendons. Doctors can often identify these types of injuries without performing a scan first, but your physician may order a scan just to confirm a diagnosis based on your symptoms. It is also important for doctors to identify where exactly such injuries are located. X-rays will show fractured bones, while MRIs will show torn ligaments or tendons, or other damage to soft tissue.
Infectious disease: Dog bites often cause puncture wounds, which provide the ideal environment for bacteria to grow. Bacteria from the dog’s mouth can easily enter the skin through these wounds. Puncture wounds often seem to close right away, so they can be difficult for victims to identify, and can trap pathogens under the skin where they can breed infection. This is one reason it is so important to get medical attention after a dog bite even if you don’t think the injury is that serious.
Depending on your vaccine history, your doctor may simply skip testing for infectious diseases like tetanus and give you a vaccine or a booster just to be safe. A tetanus vaccine must be given within 72 hours to prevent a serious infection.
Rabies: Rabies is a serious concern in cases where a stray or unknown dog bites a person, or when the dog’s rabies vaccine history is uncertain. Rabies kills nearly 55,000 people each year and is almost 100% fatal.
When no one can verify that the dog has been vaccinated, your doctor will probably administer a rabies vaccine at the site of the bite to prevent the rabies virus from infecting the dog bite victim. Rabies vaccines must be administered within 48 hours to prevent the virus from infecting the victim.
Other treatments for dog bites
Your doctor will have your open wounds dressed to prevent infection. Once you are discharged, you or a family member will probably have to change your bandages at least once daily. In more severe cases, you may need to pack the wound with gauze. In these cases, it may be beneficial to hire a home care nurse to help you. If you have stitches, you will have to follow the instructions for their care.
You will also receive instructions on what symptoms will require you to go back to the hospital. Symptoms like fever, swelling, pus, or red streaks around your injury are all serious signs of infection, and you’ll need to see a doctor right away.
In addition to medical treatment, the psychological effects of a dog bite can leave lasting emotional scars that require counseling or therapy to address. In some cases, victims have vivid flashbacks or nightmares, or develop Cynophobia (fear of dogs) that can have a significant impact on ones life. This is especially true for children who have been attacked by dogs, and these effects if untreated can affect one’s life for an immeasurable amount of time.
Consult an Asheville dog bite lawyer
The treatment and aftercare for dog bites is complex and expensive. Many dog bite victims wonder how they’re going to pay for the hospital bills from their dog bite injuries, especially if you are uninsured or underinsured. Some victims find they can’t get the treatment they need because they cannot pay for it.
Our experienced and knowledgeable personal injury team has helped many dog bite victims through each step of their dog bite claim, from helping them get treatment to settling or trying their cases. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, where our attorney will evaluate your case and develop an action plan to help you seek the compensation you need after a dog bite injury.