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What Diseases Can Result from a Dog Bite Injury?

Colburn Law

Dog bites can cause serious injuries, as well as infections that can develop after the attack. If you were bitten by a dog in Washington, it is crucial to seek emergency medical attention—and to speak with a Seattle personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Types of Infections from Dog Bites

Types of Infections from Dog Bites

When a bite breaks the skin, bacteria and viruses from the dog’s saliva can enter the body and travel through the bloodstream. Multiple diseases can result from a dog bite injury, including rabies, tetanus, and staph infections.


Rabies is a very serious virus disease transmitted through an animal bite or scratch. Many animals can turn rabid, including dogs. When rabies is passed to a human, the virus will begin to infect the central nervous system and attack the brain.

Symptoms of rabies include the following.

  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Partial paralysis

Unfortunately, rabies is a fatal disease, and most victims die after experiencing symptoms. If you believe that the dog could be rabid, receive a rabies vaccination as soon as possible.

Staph and Strep Infections

Staph and strep infections are caused by staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria, respectively. Symptoms of these conditions include fever, boils, oozing blisters, and swollen joints. You may also develop cellulitis, an infection that causes swelling, redness, and pain in a certain area of skin.


A dog’s bite can transfer tetanus bacteria to the body. Tetanus is a serious infection that causes muscle stiffness, spasms, difficulty swallowing, and other debilitating symptoms. To treat this condition, you will need special medications, such as antibiotics. Your physician may also recommend a tetanus vaccine.

Preventing Infection After a Dog Bite

If you were bitten by a dog, you can develop life-threatening diseases that require immediate care. In these situations, it is crucial to seek emergency medical attention and receive treatment for potential infections that may develop. Visit a hospital as soon as possible after the attack, even if you do not feel injured.

While you are waiting for treatment, first aid could reduce your risk of developing an infection. If possible, take the following steps to care for the wound.

  • Wash the wound with mild soap and warm water. Make sure to run water over the bite for at least five to 10 minutes.
  • Press a clean cloth to the bite to slow the bleeding.
  • If you have antibiotic cream, apply it to the wound.
  • Wrap the wound with a sterile bandage. Keep the bandage on the wound until you see your doctor.

After you receive care for your dog bite, watch for signs of infection, such as redness, fever, pain, and swelling. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek medical care as soon as possible.

Filing a Lawsuit after a Dog Bite

If you are bitten by someone else’s dog and develop an infection, speak to a Washington personal injury lawyer with experience handling dog bite claims. According to state law, you can hold the animal’s owner accountable for the physical, emotional, and financial hardship that you experienced due to the attack.

An attorney can represent you in a claim against the owner, helping you recover the compensation you need to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. Contact a dog bite attorney as soon as possible following the attack to discuss your legal options.