A dog is a man's best friend, but a badly treated or threatened dog can become any person's worst nightmare instantly. Hundreds of adults and a disturbingly large number of children are bitten by dogs each year. And the danger does not stop at the immediate trauma to bone and muscle.
- What are the main health concerns with dog bites?
A dog bite may be more complicated than the obvious puncture wounds from the canine's teeth. Dogs can carry bacteria or viruses that may be transmitted from blood or saliva to the victim of a dog attack. The most famous and troublesome condition from an animal bite is acute viral encephalomyelitis, commonly known as rabies.
- How does rabies work?
The lack of predictably of rabies makes it difficult to diagnose and treat. The virus attacks the nervous system, which immobilizes victims by tensing muscles and causing fever, headache, fatigue, anxiety and an inability to swallow. Later symptoms include paralysis or convulsions. Once clinical symptoms begin, rabies is fatal most of the time.
- How can I protect myself and my children from rabies?
There is no cure for symptomatic rabies, but some vaccines are effective before a dog bite or directly after one without emergent symptoms. New Hampshire's Rabies Control Act requires domestic animals to be vaccinated against rabies to reduce the spread of the disease.
- What do I do after a dog bite?
Get the rabies vaccine as soon as possible if you have not had it within a reasonable amount of time. Consulting an attorney may help if financial damages would assist recovery from a dog bite.