The neighbor’s new dog is still a little high-strung, and it got wound up unexpectedly when you were nearby. You were bitten – but it’s just a tiny wound because the dog is either a very small breed or a puppy.
“Oh, you’ll be okay,” the neighbor says, confidently, “A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s, anyhow.” Unfortunately for you, they most certainly are not. Even a small injury from a dog bite can be very dangerous to your health because of the bacteria they carry.
What kinds of bacteria can be lurking in a dog’s mouth?
Most people associate dog bites with rabies – which is 100% fatal if not treated. In the United States, death from rabies is relatively rare because most housepets are inoculated against the disease.
Even if your neighbor’s puppy has all its shots, however, the dog may still be carrying around:
- Capnocytophaga canimorsus, which has been known to cause severe illness, sepsis and a 30% mortality rate in humans, especially those with a weakened immune system
- Toxocara canis, which is a parasite that can cause blindness in humans, and can be transmitted to humans when a puppy eats its solid waste (which they sometimes do)
- Pasteurella bacteria, which can lead to serious infections and amputations if it gets into your bloodstream
- Roughly 600 types of other bacteria, some of which can lead to all kinds of medical complications for humans
In short, no matter how dismissive your neighbor is of your injuries, you still need to head to the nearest clinic or your doctor’s office to have your wound treated and get some antibiotics if you want to head off any problems.
If you’re the victim of a dog bite and you have medical expenses, lost wages, scarring or other problems as a result, find out more about your legal options.