Getting The Help You Need

Think That Nip From A Little Dog Can't Do You Any Real Damage? Think Again!

Most people worry about the serious injuries that large dogs can do. Breeds like pit bulls, Rottweilers, and wolf-hybrids are justifiably feared for their powerful jaws and great strength. On the other hand, people often joke about small breeds like the chihuahua and the toy poodle -- calling them "ankle biters."

It's probably a big mistake to laugh -- that tiny nip on an ankle or finger can really hurt you.

While people are appropriately cautious around big dogs, they often let their guard down around small ones. It's an understandable reaction, but those tiny jaws still contain sharp little teeth. Even a small break in the skin can lead to serious problems. Here are some facts you should know before you dismiss any nip from a small dog as insignificant.

  1. First, if you've ever heard that a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's mouth, get that thought right out of your mind. It's an oft-repeated myth. The germs in a dog's mouth generally aren't dangerous to a dog -- but that doesn't mean they aren't dangerous to a human.
  2. A scratch from a dog's tooth isn't as serious as a puncture, but even a tiny puncture that breaks through the lower layers of the skin can lead to a serious infection.
  3. Tetanus and rabies have to be considered in all dog bite situations, even those that don't appear deep. If the dog that nipped you isn't current on his or her rabies shots, you'll need treatment -- which is neither cheap nor painless. If you aren't current on your own tetanus shots, you should get a shot without delay.
  4. Streptococcus Group A is one of the common infections caused by a dog bite that breaks the skin. Look for redness, swelling, and pain (out of proportion to what you'd expect) at the site of the nip. Left untreated, the infection can lead to low blood pressure, flu-like symptoms, seizures, headaches, and confusion. It can even end up killing the nearby skin tissue -- which has to be surgically treated.
  5. Cellulitis is a condition that affects the skin around a bite. It can lead to blood clots or chronic pain in the bones, joints, and tendons of the body, depending on the location of the nip.
  6. Staph infections are common enough that most people have heard of them, but they may not realize that they can come from a dog bite. They may also not realize that once a staph infection reaches the bloodstream that sepsis can set in and threaten their life.

So what should you do if you take a nip from a so-called "ankle biter"? First, treat the wound with the same care and urgency you would a bite from a larger dog. Wound cleaning does decrease the chances you'll end up with an infection.

Avoid closing off the wound with liquid bandaids or anything else that won't let the wound breathe because that can increase your odds of developing an infection. Then, seek medical care as quickly as possible. An early round of antibiotics will often prevent serious problems later. 

If you've been injured by a dog of any size, you may have expenses and losses that need to be compensated. In addition, your pain and suffering has a value. For more information, consider contacting a personal injury attorney, such as those at Richard Glazer Law Office, today.