Why Dog Bites are More Harmful than You Know

Author: Auger Law | May 15th, 2019

Auger & Auger’s South Carolina dog bite attorney is highly familiar with state laws regarding dog attacks and is dedicated to advocating for the rights you have been given.  When a dog bite has occurred, call us at 800-559-5741 for a free evaluation so we can promptly begin an investigation and file a claim for damages. If a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached, our firm has no qualms about pursuing appropriate compensation in a civil court case on your behalf.  

An Experience You Would Rather NOT Have!

If you or a loved one has ever been bitten by a dog you know how much it hurts, and you certainly don’t want it to happen again — to anyone. Maybe it was your dog or that of a neighbor, or maybe it was a stray. Perhaps there were stitches involved, most likely an urgent care visit, and possibly a hospital stay.

Maybe you just cleaned the wound yourself and wrapped it with an ace bandage? If so, then you skipped a few critical steps. Did you know that 18% of dog bites become infected with bacteria? Veterinarians can tell you that few dog owners keep up with the proper vaccination schedules for their pets, even with reminder emails and letters reaching out for them to do so.

Are Dog Bites Really That Dangerous?


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The answer is YES!

Surprisingly, the fact that a dog’s mouth contains over sixty kinds of bacteria isn’t the keynote here.  Our intention is to emphasize that just a handful of these can actually cause serious disease or fatality:

Rabies Virus

Probably the most routinely mentioned of the five, it is the least likely to be contracted from a U.S. dog because the rabies vaccine is the one most commonly given consistently.

The rabies virus affects the brain and is usually spread via the bite and saliva, and it is nearly always fatal once your symptoms show themselves. You can find this Guide to Managing Rabies Exposure onsite at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).  

Pasteurella Bacteria

We find this bacteria present in more than 50% of infected dog bite wounds and is even more prevalent with cat scratches or bites. Typically recognized by a painful, red infection at the bite site. For victims with weakened immune systems, such as diabetes, Pasteurella is more serious — causing swollen glands, and swollen joints making movement even more difficult. Immediate surgical drainage and penicillin therapy is the treatment of choice.  

Tetanus Toxin

Given there is no cure and that 10-20% of tetanus victims will die, it is hard to fathom why more people only obtain a tetanus shot after suffering a ‘deep and dirty’ wound from a nail, knife or dog bite puncture. Though tetanus-prone wounds are generally deeper or contaminated with soil or dirt, it is possible to develop tetanus from any wound that breaks the skin.

The bacteria which produces tetanus is called Clostridium tetani, which is typically found in dust, dirt, and manure. When it travels through blood or nerves to the central nervous system, the tetanus toxin can cause a rigid paralysis known as ‘lockjaw.’ Fast treatment is recommended, with a thorough cleaning of the wound with soap and water, and a tetanus booster, or a beginning series of shots over a period of six months.

MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)

Though dogs and certain other animals can carry MRSA without any evident symptoms, this bacteria is capable of causing human urinary tract, lung, and skin infections. It presents as a wound or boils; the skin is red, swollen, and painful with pus or other drainages.

MRSA is resistant to certain antibiotics and is one of many staph infections which can easily spread through hospitals, schools, and workplaces. If not treated, MRSA can also circulate through the bloodstream or lungs, stimulating fatal infections. The good news is that successful treatment can result when you focus more on draining the abscess than antibiotics.

Random Dog Bites can be AVOIDED!

Friendly dogs playing together can get into fights in an instant — over a snack, a toy, or a territorial move — and the same goes for dogs out for a walk with their caretaker. To say dogs have a sixth sense is a gross understatement; not only can they detect whether or not their owner is in a car pulling into the driveway, but they can also find their way home from  ‘3 zip codes away.’

“He won’t bite,” may be his owner’s famous last words before their snarling dog attacks. Unfortunately, the dog’s guardian isn’t standing in your shoes and cannot see the same body language you’re observing. Things like: eyes in a fixed stare, teeth bared, raised eyebrows, wrinkled nose, ears back, front of the body hunched down in preparation to jump, tail raised and/or quivering.

Uncertainty, fear, aggressive voices — it’s all about instincts (the animal’s and yours). Stop, watch, listen, and don’t look them in the eyes. Turn to the side at a 45-degree angle and slowly walk away. Do not turn your back on them, or run, or show any sign of aggression.

Auger & Auger is here to HELP!

If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog and seriously injured, we are ready to step in and advocate for you. Our South Carolina dog bite attorney has broad experience with the laws which uphold your rights and is not afraid to take on insurance carriers (no matter their size).

You may reach us 24/7 at 800-559-5741 for a free attorney consultation — to discuss your incident, make sure your medical needs are being attended to, and begin investigating the evidence required to prove your case.

Posted In: Dog Bite