Suffering from a dog bite can cause more problems than you may anticipate. Of course, you have to deal with the immediate issue of the physical damage that a dog’s bite can do, which can cause excessive bleeding, tissue damage and scarring.
But there is a smaller and less noticeable danger that could lurk just below the surface, too. It comes in the form of bacteria, which can cause life-threatening infections.
Early signs of infection
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examine capnocytophaga infections in the population. This bacteria lives within a dog’s mouth and it can end up injected into your skin or bloodstream after even a small bite. You might feel completely fine at the moment, but the signs of infection can start to set in after just a few hours.
First, you may notice the area around the bite swelling up or getting red. It may feel hot to the touch or appear streaky. You might notice pus forming around the puncture wounds, and it could hurt if you press on it. As the infection progresses, it might sting or ache even without any applied pressure.
Next, you could experience flu-like symptoms such as fever or aching muscles. The fever at this stage could potentially grow intense enough to require immediate medical care. You might also experience dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
The serious impact of untreated infection
If left untreated, capnocytophaga infections can cause serious damage to the organs and may result in heart failure. You could also experience gangrene, necrosis or sepsis, all serious infections of the tissues and blood that may cause parts of your body to rot and your organs to fail.
Thus, after any dog bite incident, you want to seek immediate medical attention. A professional can clean your wound properly, greatly reducing the chance of having to deal with this infection.