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What complications can occur following a dog bite?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2023 | Dog Bites |

While dogs can make excellent companions, dog attacks can also cause severe damage. Dogs tend to attack when frightened, confused, hurt or mistreated. While most people fear the initial wound after a dog bite, there are other complications you should look out for if you suffer a dog bite.

Dog bites can cause severe damage, including infection and nerve damage.

Infections caused by dog bites

When dogs bite, their front teeth grab your skin and the smaller teeth tear. Dog bites typically result in jagged, deep wounds susceptible to infection. Bacteria from the dog’s mouth can enter the wound; if you do not adequately clean or bandage it, other bacteria can enter the tissue. About half of all dog bites introduce bacteria into the wound, including staphylococcus, capnocytophaga, streptococcus and pasteurella.

Nerve damage from dog bites

Dogs bite down with excessive pressure. Even if the dog does not break the skin, its bite can cause severe damage, including neuropraxia. Neuropraxia can cause stinging or burning pain. While neuropraxia can be a mild injury, it can also result in long-term nerve pain or weakness.

Unlike other nerve injuries that damage the nerve, neuropraxia is an injury that interrupts the impulses. Your nerve remains intact, but the blocked impulses cause numbness, stinging and burning. If the dog bite causes damage to the actual nerve, it can take months to years for the nerves to heal.

Many people shrug off a dog bite if it does not require stitches. However, even minor bites can cause serious complications.