If you encounter a strange Rottweiler or an English Mastiff, you probably have an understandable hesitation about letting the dog approach you. After all, big dogs have big jaws – and they can do a lot of damage if they decide to attack.
You probably don’t have the same reservations, however, about petting a strange teacup Chihuahua or a Pomeranian – but you probably should. Even if you think that a small dog couldn’t possibly do too much damage to you, they can.
It’s all about the risk of infection
Because dog bites are puncture wounds, they drive deep into a victim’s skin. That pushes the dog’s saliva – and all the bacteria that saliva holds – into the wound. Regardless of the dog’s size, the dog may be carrying things like:
This isn’t as big of a concern as it once was – so long as the dog is up-to-date on its shots. Rabies is technically a virus that’s common to wild animals, but some dogs do still get it when they’re not properly vaccinated. Once rabies takes hold, it leads to inflammation in the brain that is fatal.
Staphylococcus is very common in the mouths of dogs, and even healthy people can get very sick from a staph infection if it reaches their bloodstream. A staph infection can cause multiple kinds of problems, including cellulitis and impetigo (two types of painful, oozing skin infections) that are difficult to treat.
Capnocytophaga is a bacteria that is harmless to dogs, but not so harmless to humans. It causes victims to feel sick with headaches, fevers, vomiting and rashes. Children, the elderly and those who are immunocompromised can easily develop complications that lead to gangrene, amputations, heart attacks and kidney failure.
Any dog attack has the potential for serious (or even lethal) consequences. Learning more about your legal options can help you obtain fair compensation for your injuries and other losses.