When you’re bitten by an animal, there’s more than just the initial injury to worry about. Animal bite infections can cause a number of severe conditions if the wound isn’t cleaned or cared for properly.
While dogs are commonly associated with bites, it’s more likely for a cat bite to become infected. That’s because cats teeth puncture deeper. That doesn’t mean that dog bites can’t get infected, though. Around one percent of all dog bites lead to infections, particularly when they’re on your hands or fingers.
Can these infections be dangerous? Yes, and they could even be life-threatening. For instance, a cat bite that punctures deep into the hand can be hard to clean. That bite may seem to heal quickly because of the small area of skin that was broken. The problem then is that the wound’s bacteria can’t come out and is trapped inside the wound.
In some cases, animals may carry serious diseases such as rabies, which can be life-threatening by the time that symptoms arise. If any animal bite breaks the skin on your body, you should seek immediate medical attention to determine if you should be concerned about rabies or getting vaccinated.
If you can’t get to a doctor right away, clean the wound thoroughly. Monitor the bite, and if you don’t know about the status of the animal’s vaccines, go to the hospital or to your doctor for treatment as soon as possible. Once you’re being treated, remember that you may be able to recoup the costs of medical care and other damages if you choose to file a claim against the animal’s owner.
Source: HealthLine, “Animal Bite Infections,” accessed July 26, 2016