On behalf of Peter Regan of Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2018.

When an animal attacks you, the last thing you likely think about is infection. The first thing on your mind is stopping the bleeding and getting medical help; after all, the lacerations, broken bones and injuries are the most pressing concerns.

The reality of animal bites is that they do pose a threat to you in the form of infections. Infections are not always deadly, like tetanus or rabies can be, but they do have a potential to cause you serious harm. For instance, an untreated infection in the legs could lead to amputation, or it could spread and cause sepsis that threatens your life.

Infections take place in around 15 percent of dog bites and up to 50 percent of cat bites. Cat bites often become infected because of the long teeth cats have; the puncture wounds create the perfect space for an infection to develop. Comparatively, dogs tend to bite and move from side to side, which opens a larger wound that is less prone to infection.

Infections generally start with symptoms including swelling and inflammation. Even if this swelling doesn’t seem threatening, it’s a serious sign of worse things to come. Most people who suffer from animal bites and receive medical treatment will be placed on antibiotics to prevent the spread of an infection in the wound.

Those who suffer a bite should seek medical attention immediately, even if they can stop the bleeding and clean the wound on their own. Deep punctures have a high risk of infection and may require antibiotics. Don’t worry about cost; those who own pets should be held accountable for the attack. Our site has more on the steps to take next.

These materials have been prepared by SRT for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.