Animal bites can easily (and quickly) lead to an infection. If left untreated, they can lead to sepsis and other serious complications. Learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an animal bite infection, and discover how it could impact the settlement of an animal bite injury case in the following sections.
What Causes an Animal Bite Infection?
Infections are caused by bacteria, either from the animal’s mouth or from the skin itself. Cat bites are the most likely to lead to infection (they are the most likely to puncture the skin), but any animal bite that leads to a break in the skin may cause infection.
Environmental factors can also cause infection. Examples might include exposure to air, dirt, or prolonged exposure to moisture. Generally, the bites are polymicrobial, meaning several types of bacteria are involved (from various sources).
Tetanus, a bacterial disease, is also a risk commonly associated with animal bites. Highly dangerous, this type of infection can quickly lead to nervous system damage or sepsis. Prompt medical treatment is critical.
Signs of an Animal Bite Infection
Most animal bites will be inflamed and irritated. Pain is also a common symptom. Symptoms that extend beyond that tend to signify infection. Examples include:
- Pus or oozing fluid from the wound site;
- Loss of sensation around the bite site;
- Red streaking around the bite site;
- Fever or chills;
- Extreme tenderness around the bite site;
- Limited use of the digits (toes and feet for leg bites, or fingers and hand for hand or arm bites);
- Swollen lymph nodes;
- Extreme fatigue;
- Tremors or muscle weakness;
- Difficulty breathing; and
- Night sweats.
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor immediately. If symptoms are severe, you may want to consider a trip to the emergency room or an urgent care center.
How an Animal Bite Infection May Impact Your Case
Animal bites that lead to infection often take longer to heal. As a result, you may miss more time at work, or you may be limited in the duties you can perform. In addition, an infection may increase the cost of your medical bills. These losses are often compensable in a personal injury lawsuit. They should be factored into your settlement.
How do you know if you have a personal injury case after an animal bite? The first thing to do is consider whether an element of negligence was involved (i.e. a neighbor allowed their dog to run in the street). Second, speak to a seasoned personal injury lawyer; they can help you sort out whether an incident may be compensable under state law.
Contact Our Green Bay Animal Bite Injury Attorneys
If you or someone you love has suffered an animal bite injury, contact Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd. for assistance. Our skilled Appleton dog bite injury lawyers will examine your case and assist you in determining what, if any compensation, you may be owed. Call 920-739-7366 and schedule your free consultation with our offices today.