What Are Dog Bite Infection Signs?

Is My Dog Bite Infected? | The Law Offices of Mickey Fine

One of the biggest risks associated with a dog bite is the risk of infection. Dog bites can cause several different types of infections, and these infections can lead to heart attack, kidney failure, gangrene, pneumonia, sepsis, brain damage, and even death. As a result, knowing dog bite infection signs is important for anyone who has been bitten, or whose child has been bitten, by a dog.

If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog, Bakersfield dog bite lawyer Mickey Fine wants to hear your story. Our firm has built a reputation for excellence in a range of personal injury cases for more than 30 years.

Signs of Dog Bite Infection

Dog bites can cause four primary infections: capnocytophaga, pasteurellosis, rabies, and staph. While each of these types of infections has unique symptoms, many symptoms overlap. But, if you or your child has been attacked by a dog, knowing which specific infection you or your child has is not nearly as important as seeing a doctor for a diagnosis as soon as possible. 

Dog bite infection signs can broadly be divided into three categories: (i) signs at the bite wound, (ii) physical signs, and (iii) cognitive signs. Signs at the bite wound and other physical signs are associated with all four types of dog bite infections, while the cognitive signs are specific to rabies. 

1. Infection Signs at the Bite Wound

In most cases, signs at the bite wound will provide the first indication of a possible dog bite infection. In general, a bite wound that is not infected should heal just like to any other wound following appropriate medical treatment. A certain amount of pain is to be expected, and this pain may increase with contact or when the skin is stretched or twisted (i.e. when trying to walk after suffering a dog bite on the ankle). However, if a dog bite victim experiences any of the following, these are all potential signs of infection:

  • Blistering in the vicinity of the wound
  • Discharge
  • Moderate to severe pain
  • Pricking or itching sensation
  • Red streaks in the skin around the bite
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness

2. Physical Signs of a Dog Bite Infection

Once infection spreads beyond the site of the bite wound, a dog bite victim will typically begin to experience physical symptoms in other parts of the body. While specific physical symptoms vary between the different types of dog bite infections, anyone who experiences any of the following (or whose child experiences any of the following) after a dog attack should see a doctor promptly:

  • Body aches and pains
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Painful skin
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

3. Cognitive Signs of a Dog Bite Infection

Rabies is unique from the other primary types of dog bite infections in that it attacks the brain. As a result, individuals who contract rabies from a dog bite can experience a variety of cognitive effects—including:

  • Anxiety or agitation 
  • Behavioral changes
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Hallucinations or hydrophobia (fear of water)

Due to the nature of rabies, the development of any of these symptoms should be treated as a medical emergency. Staph and other dog bite infections may need to be treated as medical emergencies as well. In general, anyone who has concerns about any type of dog bite infection should seek a diagnosis and treatment right away. 

When Should I See Signs of an Infection After a Dog Bite?

In most cases, dog bite infection signs will begin to appear within a few days of the attack. However, it can take up to 14 days for signs to appear with certain types of infections (i.e. capnocytophaga). Additionally, signs that initially appear mild may worsen over time, and additional signs may begin to appear over time as well.

When Should I Seek Treatment for a Dog Bite Infection? 

It is extremely important not to ignore the signs of a dog bite infection. All dog bite infections should be taken seriously, as the effects of infection can worsen quickly without appropriate medical care. If you believe that you or your child may have an infection, you should seek treatment immediately. 

Dog bite victims and parents of children who get bitten should also consult with a lawyer promptly. California law entitles dog bite victims to recover just compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses. At The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, we can work to recover just compensation on your behalf, and we can guide you step-by-step through the recovery process. 

Talk To a Dog Bite Lawyer in Bakersfield for Free

For more information about how we help dog bite victims in Bakersfield, please contact us to arrange a complimentary initial consultation. Call (661) 333-3333 or tell us how we can reach you online to get started today.

Dog Bite
by Mickey Fine Law
Last updated on - Originally published on