Dogs, though domesticated by humans, can and do bite, and their bite can be extremely painful and traumatic. In some cases, it may lead to a medical emergency for the fear of infection. It is essential to treat the causes behind a dog bite infection, else risk serious health complications. This article provides some information on the same.
A dog is said to be a man’s best friend. However, there have been countless incidences where dogs have attacked humans for reasons that vary from self-defense to mental disorders. The phenomenon of wound licking among animals, especially mammals has given rise to the myth that saliva has disinfectant properties. However, every animal’s mouth is a storehouse of microbes, especially bacteria and fungus.
Pure saliva indeed has disinfectant properties due to its protein structure. Wound licking is also a very natural reaction by the animals. However, saliva that is present in the case of a dog bite, is sheer poison for a human being as we are not immune to the bacteria and microbes that are present in the dog’s mouth, which instantly gives rise to an infection.
The dog has many characteristics, physical and psychological, that are handed down to it by its ancestors. The prominent physical characteristics which are inherited by the canine community are the fierce set of teeth, powerful jaws, and a sheer brute-force mentality, which is directed by a killer instinct to protect itself and its master from harm and threat. These characteristics of the dog can inflict severe damage on the human body.
The muscles that power the jaws of the dog are capable of exerting tremendous pressure. This pressure and force, is capable of puncturing and tearing the human skin, vessels, muscles, and even tendons. The lacerations that are caused by the dog bite and the microbes entering the human body, make the condition even more severe and dangerous. In many cases, the microbes that we refer to as the agents causing infection, overpower the body’s mechanism of defense, that is the white blood cells. Mere application of a disinfectant is hence not enough and the wound caused as a result of the dog bite needs proper medical attention.
The infection is basically the spread of microbes throughout the wound. The following are some of the types of bacteria that cause the infections due to dog bites.
- Capnocytophaga canimorsus
The disinfectants that are used in primary dog bite infection treatment are used to get rid of some of these bacteria. However, not all disinfectants are capable of killing bacteria. Inflammation of skin and secretion of whitish fluid is the first sign that the wound has been infected. Another very common sign is the appearance of the reddish rashes on the skin around the dog bite. These symptoms usually occur within the first 8 hours, after the dog has bitten. One needs to rush to the hospital within the first 8 hours.
Dog bite can get even more severe, if the dog has been affected by rabies. One of the initial symptoms of rabies in humans, is hallucinations. The hallucinations would be followed by a severe headache, sweating, and fever. The symptoms are extremely similar to that of common flu. The person may also experience muscle spasms and repulsion to water. The best remedy in such a situation is to clean the wound instantly and call the emergency services or straight away visit the hospital.
A common infection that spreads as a result of dog bite is that of tetanus. Muscle spasms and high fever are signs of a tetanus infection. Sepsis, a type of blood poisoning, is another common infection that can occur due to the same.
In order to avoid these life-threatening infections, it is advisable to contact the emergency services immediately and then clean the wound. The emergency service, on observation of the wound, would instantly start off with the appropriate vaccinations and medications.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.