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The infection risks you face after a dog bite

While we usually wouldn't think our furry friends could transmit any viruses to us, in some cases you could catch some rather harmful bacteria from a dog.

Though these bacteria could be transmitted through an innocent lick, most infections happen when a dog has bitten deep into a person's tissue. And while rabies is usually highlighted as a main concern, there are actually several other risks you could face.

Capnocytophaga canimorsus 

Capnocytophaga bacteria, also known as “dog bite septicemia,” is commonly found in the mouths of both healthy cats and dogs. This bacteria usually harmless, even when spread through scratches or bites.

However, it has caused pain. Earlier this year, a Wisconsin man had to have his limbs amputated after Capnocytophaga canimorsus bacteria caused a rare blood infection. The man had been around many dogs, but none of which had bitten him.


Pasteurella bacteria is a little more common. In fact, it's been found in more than half of dog bite wounds that become infected. An antibacterial prescription from your local doctor can clear up this infection in a matter of a week. However, it's important to catch it before it progresses into cellulitis. Symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swollen glands
  • Pus
  • Tender and/or warm skin


Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) can be caused by Capnocytophaga or Pasteurella. The staph infection can be easy to mistake for something else because of the adverse effects it produces.

With this infection you may experience:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Lung infection
  • Skin infection

Get help after a bite

Other infection risks you may face after a dog bite include tetanus, streptococcus, staphylococcus and rabies. Rabies is usually the number one concern after a dog bite because it can become fatal very quickly. However, there has only been one recorded case of rabies in the United State in recent years.

If you have been bitten by a dog, there are a number of other health concerns you could face. Always seek immediate medical attention after you have been bitten by a dog. Then, talk to a personal injury lawyer about your legal options. An attorney can help ensure that negligent pet owners face repercussions after someone is hurt.

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