8 Crucial Reasons Dog Bites Should Not Be Taken Lightly

8 Crucial Reasons Dog Bites Should Not Be Taken Lightly

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, dogs bite an alarming 4.5 million people every year. About half of these victims, and maybe more than half, are children. Nearly 800,000 dog bite victims need to seek medical care. Thirty to 50 people are killed by dogs every year, and most bites happen in the home. Tragically, most dog bites are administered by family pets. Whether a person seeks medical attention or not, all dog bites need to be taken seriously.

1. Open Wounds

A dog’s teeth evolved to tear flesh, and a bite can result in an open wound. Most dog bites are found on the upper part of the body, including the arms, the head, and the neck. Besides the damage of the initial bite, a bite to the head or face can result in disfigurement.

2. Broken Bones

The bite force of some dogs is strong enough to break bones, especially if the victim is a child. For example, the bite force of a pit bull terrier is 240-330 pounds per square inch. Pit bulls are also the most likely breed of dog to bite.

3. Damage to Muscles, Tendons and Ligaments

A severe dog bite can also tear through muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Tendons are tissues that attach muscles to bones, while ligaments are tissues that attach bones to each other. Damage to any of these structures can be devastating.

4. Damage to Nerves

As dog bites can damage muscles, they can also damage nerves. Damage to nerves can lead to long-term impairment.

5. Rabies

Rabies transmitted through a dog bite is rare in the United States, as pet dogs need to be vaccinated for the disease. However, if a person is bitten by an unknown dog it’s crucial that they see a doctor to make sure they haven’t contracted rabies. Vaccinations can prevent the progression of a disease that is 99 percent fatal once symptoms start.

6. Tetanus

A person is much more likely to get tetanus from a dog bite that breaks the skin. Tetanus is also called lockjaw because it causes the jaw and neck muscles to painfully “lock.” Like rabies, tetanus can be prevented by a vaccine administered as soon after the bite as possible.

7. Medical and Legal Costs

The medical cost of a serious dog bite can be high. Some people may need to have limbs amputated due to injury or infection. Other costs include the cost of therapy, medication, or medical equipment. Victims can alsosue the owner of the offending dog, which may be costly to both parties.

8. Psychological Cost

Being bitten by a dog is traumatic, even if the actual wound is minor. A victim, especially a child, may develop a lifelong fear of dogs and avoid places where dogs are found. In America, this means avoiding a surprising number of places, from recreation and outdoor areas to the homes of friends and relatives and even pet-friendly restaurants. Such a fear, called cynophobia, can affect a person’s social life and their career prospects. Hence, it is important that one shouldn’t take a dog bite lightly.