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3 reasons to get medical help for your child after a dog bite

Fido wasn't happy to see your child today, and he lashed out in a way you never expected. For example, maybe your child already knew the neighbor's pet, he normally only saw the pet when your neighbor was with him. Today, the dog got off its leash and chased your child down on his bicycle, biting him once he was knocked down. Your neighbor called him off quickly, but your child still suffered in the attack.

Your neighbor is mortified, and your child has several puncture wounds from the dog's bite. While the wounds themselves don't look too bad, it's important to take your child to get emergency care. The wounds may not bleed much and may look small, but there are complications that could occur without treatment.

1. They carry disease

Fortunately, Fido is vaccinated, but that doesn't mean the dog doesn't have the potential to transfer diseases. Dogs often run around in dirt and drink water from sources humans may not. That means they have germs on their teeth and in their mouths that could cause disease. Most people worry about rabies but vaccinated pets usually don't carry this disease. A disease more likely to occur is tetanus. Most children receive a tetanus vaccine, but talk to the emergency care provider about this risk. He or she may want to give your child a booster due to exposure.

2. They cause infection

Infection is one of the major risks of any kind of bite. Saliva carries germs that get deep into the wound. Nonfatal bites can spread zoonotic diseases such as staphylococcus aureus and pasteurella multocida. An infection has the potential to cause soft-tissue infections, osteomyelitis or septic arthritis. It's vital that any wound receives prompt treatment and that your child receives antibiotics to prevent these complications.

3. They tear muscles, tendons, ligaments and tissues

When a dog bites, its strong jaws tear through tendons, muscles, ligaments and tissues. Your child could need surgery to repair tears, or the doctor may want to clean out the deep wounds to make sure no bacteria is trapped inside. If your child's muscles or ligaments are damaged, the doctor or surgeon may tell you to seek out physical therapy. This therapy can help.

After an attack like this, it might feel uncomfortable to hold your neighbor accountable, but he is liable for his pet's actions. Your attorney can help you determine a fair settlement, so you can pay for the care your child needs.

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