Many people fear diseases such as rabies or tetanus when they’re bitten by an animal, but there are other complications that are much more common. For instance, deep puncture wounds make it possible for bacteria to gather and get trapped in the body. This can cause deep infections that are difficult to treat. For this reason, those who suffer a dog or cat bite may need to have the wound disinfected or cleaned in a surgical procedure.
One infection that can result if a joint or bone is infected is called osteomyelitis. It is better known as septic arthritis. This infection progresses quickly in most cases. It causes the skin to swell and become red, and the pain intensifies as time goes on.
After you are bitten by an animal, it’s important to clean the wound. Quickly do so using soap and water. Use plenty of water to wash away dirt or debris. Once the wound is clean, compress the wound if it is bleeding. This should help slow or stop the bleeding while you wait for help or head to the hospital.
If an animal bite breaks your skin and bleeds heavily or for longer than 15 minutes, always see a medical provider. Even a minor bite can become infected and cause you complications down the line. If you take medications that impair your immune system or suffer from a disease or disorder that affects your immune system, you should go to the doctor immediately after a bite. Your attorney can use the information from your appointment to help you file a claim against the owner of the dangerous animal.
Source: UpToDate, “Patient education: Animal bites (Beyond the Basics),” accessed March 03, 2017