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Primary medical care for dog bites

Before we expand on the medical care that must be provided after being bitten by a dog, it is necessary to extend the invitation to hire our legal services: if a canine has put its tusks somewhere on your body and you require legal advice to obtain compensation for the injury, then it is highly recommended that you contact us as soon as possible.

“Is medical care necessary to treat injuries caused by a dog bite? Are they really that bad?” … These are questions that appear in the mind of anyone who is reading for the first time on the subject in question. And the answer is: yes, canine bites can indeed be severe enough to require treatment by medical specialists.

In fact, at the very moment the bite is made, first aid or primary medical attention is required; this is when the bleeding occurs and should be stopped immediately to avoid further complications. Dog bites can also cause lacerations and other serious physical injuries.

So, whether the victim of the bite is you or someone else and you witnessed the incident, it is vitally important that you pick up a phone and dial 911 so that they can go immediately to the scene of the incident.

On the other hand, it is also essential to clarify that the weakest members of our society (see children and the elderly) are, in turn, the most likely to be bitten by a canine. Add to this the fact that these bites can result in deep wounds and very serious infections, and the usefulness of primary and immediate medical care becomes more visible in the moments following a dog bite.

What to do immediately after a canine bite

  • As many should know, the first thing to do after the onset of a wound is to clean it up. It is a simple cleaning, which is done with soap and water.
  • Next, you must make sure that the wound is at a higher angle than the levels of the heart. The goal of this move is to counteract the massive movement of blood, while reducing your chances of getting an infection.
  • Now, using a clean towel or wipe, you should put pressure on the wound. The purpose is the same as the previous step: stop the bleeding.
  • Once the bleeding has been effectively counteracted and the wound has been decently cleaned, it is time for you to place a sterile bandage on the wound.
  • If you have properly performed the above four steps, you will have successfully completed your primary medical care. But now you need to report the incident to the appropriate authorities, namely the police in your community or animal control; they are responsible for managing this type of misfortune.
  • We cannot forget, as a final point, the short-medium term treatment. This treatment is carried out with the simple but useful placement of antibiotic ointment in the injured area, preferably twice a day. The duration is unlimited, i.e. the treatment does not end until the wound has been fully healed.

Be careful with these symptoms

One of the things that should not be missing in the treatment of dog bites is supervision; these injuries can be complicated and should be constantly monitored. But how do you know if an injury has gotten worse and requires medical attention? You should pay attention to the following symptoms:

  • Infections are by far the most common of all wound complications resulting from canine bites. The onset of infections can in turn be identified by signs such as redness, pus, warmth and swelling. Even increased wound sensitivity has been associated with increased risk of infection.
  • Also, an expansion in wound size is another aggravation that can occur after a dog bite. This way, if you notice an enormous or significant size lesion, it is advisable to go to a doctor as soon as possible.
  • In some cases, applying pressure is not enough to stop blood flow (bleeding). If, after 15 minutes of pressure, blood still flows from the wound, then you should see a specialist for care.
  • On the other hand, if you feel that the bite has caused deeper injuries, such as damage to nerves or bone structure, it is also advisable to make yourself available to a doctor. Please don’t think “it’s just my stuff; it’s nothing wrong with me”; the mere suspicion is enough for you to take action.
  • The medical history is another element that comes under consideration here; to be more specific, there are a number of diseases or conditions that can trigger wound complications, such as acquired immune deficiency syndrome, liver or lung diseases, and even diabetes. The reason is that these conditions decrease the body’s ability to counteract infections, so they promote their onset.
  • Although it is not a factor that has a similar influence to other factors, the date of tetanus vaccination is also taken into account; if more than 5 years have passed since the last time you had it, you may need to get it again. So take a look at your immunization history to find out exactly when your shots are due.

What is specialist medical care?

Below, we will explain the measures implemented by medical specialists to treat dog bites. This information is useful to know if you are being treated correctly; it will also help you understand why only a specialist, in most cases, is the only person empowered to heal the injury.

As we explained earlier, cleaning the wound is paramount. The specialist also performs it, but the difference is that he uses a special solution. In addition, the specialist removes the affected tissue with great care.

In turn, the specialist will carefully examine the wound for any possible damage to the nerves, tendons, or bones. In the same way, the specialist will try to locate signs of infection to rule it out. A specialist cannot venture to treat a wound without first making sure there are no other injuries.

In some cases, the specialist will place stitches; however, we want to emphasize “some cases”, because in so many others (probably most of them), the specialist will not close the wound to allow it to heal successfully, while minimizing the chances of getting an infection.

In order to prevent infection, the use of antibiotics is also essential. Therefore, a medical specialist will most likely prescribe one as part of your treatment.

A specialist will even evaluate your medical history, especially the section on vaccination dates; and if the tetanus vaccine was given more than 5 years ago (as we said a moment ago), the specialist will give you a new dose, so that you can be boosted and cope with the wound.

Finally, for the sake of much-needed patient follow-up, the specialist will ask you to please visit his office in a few days so that he can check the condition of the wound. Through this supervision, the specialist will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment and take the appropriate measures depending on the degree of such effectiveness.

They are rare, but in some cases, the specialist’s care is not successful, even if the patient is following every recommendation made by the specialist to the letter. If this happens, the specialist will probably refer you to a hospital so that you can be admitted and receive the required care. This care usually involves intravenous injection of antibiotics.

With this information at hand, along with our advice, you’ll be ready for any dog bite litigation. With our attorneys, you will be able to obtain fair compensation for your injuries; adequate compensation to achieve the healing of each and every one of the injuries resulting from the incident.

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