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Signs that a dog bite may be infected

Dog bites that become infected can be especially problematic and require quick medical attention. Left untreated, infections can spread and grow worse with time, potentially increasing the risks, the recovery time and the cost.

So, how do you know if a bite has gotten infected? Below are a few common symptoms you should watch out for. Remember, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of bites will get infected; it's even worse for cat bites, with an infection rate of 50 percent.

The signs

The symptoms to watch out for include:

  • A feeling of tenderness in the tissue that surrounds the bite but that was not actually damaged.
  • Any fluid, like pus, coming from the bite.
  • A loss of feeling or sensation in the injured area.
  • Red streaks on the skin by the bite.
  • A swelling of your lymph nodes.
  • Getting chills or a fever.
  • Feeling overly fatigued for no other reason.
  • Getting night sweats.
  • Having trouble breathing.
  • General weakness.
  • Tremors in your muscles.
  • If the bite is located on your hand, feeling like your ability to use your hand or your fingers has become limited.

Any of these signs can tip you off that the bite is not healing properly. Keep a close eye on it, as they can be harder to spot than you'd think. For instance, is the area red and tender just because the bite damaged the tissue or because it's infected?

Your options

If it does get infected and you need advanced medical treatment, which can be costly, it's important to understand all of your rights to financial compensation.

Source: Healthline, "Animal Bite Infections," Amber Erickson Gabbey and Diana K. Wells, accessed Nov. 24, 2017

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