Treating dog bites may not be something you have to do regularly, but if you or someone you love has been bitten, you need to know what to do. While this article is not intended to replace advice or care from a medical professional, it may help you determine if you need to seek dog bite treatment and whether or not it makes sense to contact an attorney.
When it comes to treating dog bites, the first thing you should do is check for broken or punctured skin. If the bite hasn’t broken the skin, you may not need to seek any medical attention. If the skin has been broken, however, you need to evaluate the severity of the wound to determine how it should be treated.
Minor Dog Bite Wounds
In situations where you do not know the dog’s rabies status, you should consult a doctor right away. If the bite barely broke the skin and you know the dog was up-to-date on its rabies vaccination, you probably do not need to seek medical treatment. For these types of wounds, start by cleaning it thoroughly with soap and water and then apply an antibiotic cream and bandage.
After treating the cut, be sure to keep a close eye on it to make sure you don’t develop a dog bite infection. Consult a doctor immediately if the pain increases or the area begins to look red or swollen, or starts oozing.
Serious Dog Bite Abrasions
If your dog bite has badly torn the skin and created one or more deep puncture wounds, you will need to see a doctor right away. First, try to stop the bleeding by applying direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or bandage. Next, call your doctor, go to an urgent care facility or visit your local emergency room for evaluation and treatment.
Dog Bite Treatment
A doctor will determine if the bite damaged any tendon, nerves or even bones, and will carefully and thoroughly clean the wound. Sutures (stitches) may or may not be used depending on the location of the injury. Very deep punctures may require plastic surgery – particularly for those on the face. It’s possible that your doctor may recommend a rabies vaccine or booster and/or a course of dog bite antibiotics to prevent an infection from developing.
When to Call an Attorney
It’s common to wonder if you should talk to an attorney after a dog bite. If you have any inkling that you may have a case, you should find a reputable dog bite injury attorney. Do not try and sue the dog owner yourself, as this is not efficient and may not get you the maximum settlement. Let an attorney guide you as to whether or not you have a claim and if litigation is necessary.
Contrary to what people often think, your attorney may not “aggressively go after” the dog owner or try and have the dog euthanized right off the bat. In dog bite injury claims, it is ideal to resolve it without going to court, but your attorney should be able to advise you on the best course of action for your particular situation.