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Dog bite disasters: Tips for treating dog bites

Every time you ride your bike in your neighborhood, you see a local pet who barks at you. The dog always seemed a little aggressive, but you never thought that it would hurt you.

That was in the past, though. Today, you were riding and the dog got loose. It chased you down, tackling you off your bike by grabbing your leg in its jaws. You were bitten several times and need medical care.

Treating dog bites: At the scene

At the scene of a dog attack, it's typically vital to treat your wounds as quickly as possible. However, the first step is to confine or control the animal. It's impossible to help someone who is still being attacked or who is in a position where a sudden move could cause further attacks to occur. Once the dog is controlled or gone, your focus will likely have to be on stemming the bleeding of your injuries. If you have a phone, call 911. If there are witnesses at the scene, ask them to call for emergency help and to help you place pressure on any bleeding wounds.

Treating dog bites: At the hospital

All dog bites are a little different, so the treatments you receive will depend on the severity of your injuries. If the dog bit you only once but they were puncture wounds, you may need surgery to clean the wounds out.

Likewise, facial injuries or injuries resulting in torn ligaments, shredded muscles or broken bones may need immediate medical care including, but not limited to, surgery. Once the injuries are treated, you'll likely receive antibiotics. If the dog is not caught, you may require shots for rabies. If you have not had a tetanus shot in the last several years, you may be given the tetanus shot to prevent the potentially life-threatening disease.

Treating dog bites: At home

After you return home, you may need to continue taking antibiotics and returning for vaccine therapies as scheduled. If you suffered significant injuries requiring physical therapy, you may be given exercises to perform at home. Stick to your treatment plan, so you have the best chance of fully recovering without lasting side effects.

All dog bites have different results. As a patient and victim, you may have a right to pursue compensation from the owner of the dog that bit you. Such compensation might help you pay for treatments moving forward, such as surgeries for reconstructing parts of your face, to clean wounds, or to stabilize ligaments or tendons. Compensation could also help you cover the costs of additional needs, like physical therapy and in-home health care services.

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