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Infections Caused by Dog Bites


Animal attacks can be a traumatic experience that leave long-lasting impacts on your life. However, there is an important way to curb the physical ramifications of an attack. Infections caused by dog bites are preventable with the appropriate medical care.

If a dog bite pierces a person’s skin, bacteria from the animal’s mouth can get into the body, which can cause an infection. Therefore, washing the wound thoroughly can remove the bacteria from the body and help prevent infection. If the bacteria stay in the body, they can cause an infection, such as tetanusrabies, or sepsis.

In some cases, an infection can spread to other parts of the body. People will need antibiotics or vaccinations to treat these types of infection.

How to tell if a bite is infected

The common symptoms of a dog bite infection can include:

  • Swelling and redness around the wound.
  • Pain that lasts longer than 24 hours.
  • Drainage from the wound.
  • Difficulty moving the affected part of the body.
  • Warm feeling around the wound.

Signs that the infection may have spread to other parts of the body include:

  • Fever
  • Shaking
  • Night sweats

To help prevent the dog bite from becoming infected, you should wash/clean the wound as soon as possible. It is best to use soap and warm water to clean the wound thoroughly. After cleaning out the wound, applying antibiotic cream and bandaging should be the next step. If the wound is deep and more serious, you should seek medical attention right away.


Dog bites on the hands and feet carry the highest risk of infection. Untreated dog bites can lead to major health problems. Seeking prompt medical attention is key to avoiding any major complications from the wound. Sepsis, Rabies and Tetanus can all be caused by a dog bite wound getting infected.


Treating infections caused by dog bites is possible. However, your doctor should assess the situation and examine the wound to look for any damage to nerves or bones.

If the person has not had a tetanus vaccine in the last 5 years, they may need to have one to reduce the risk of tetanus

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, people with a dirty wound should have a booster tetanus vaccine if more than 5 years have passed since their last shot. For a clean wound, people should have a booster vaccine if it has been more than 10 years since their last shot.

In cases of severe or facial wounds, people may need stitches to close the wound. If the person does not know the dog’s history of rabies vaccination, they will need a post-exposure rabies vaccine to protect them from the possibility of rabies.

Representation for Dog Bite Victims

If you have suffered an infection from a dog bite, you need a skilled attorney at your side to fight relentlessly to recover damages.

Maginnis Law’s lead personal injury attorney, T. Shawn Howard may be able to help you recover fair compensation. Mr. Howard has successfully represented many victims of vicious North Carolina dog attacks and is familiar with the unique psychological impact the attack and the physical scars can leave.

You can reach our intake team by phone at (919) 526-0450 or send a private inquiry through the Maginnis Howard contact page.