Every year, around 2 percent of the American population suffers from dog bites. With around 77.5 million dogs within the country, it would be difficult to prevent them all from occurring. One thing that is particularly important to remember is that regardless of the dog’s nature, all dogs have a propensity to bite when they are ill, mistreated, angry or scared.

No matter what the situation is or was, if you’re attacked by a dog, you are at risk of a few illnesses. Bite wounds need medical treatment, because there is a risk of infection that could cause serious complications. While the first and primary infection people worry about is rabies, that actually isn’t the only potentially deadly infection you could get from a dog bite. You could also be open to developing tetanus or other bacterial infections.

The most common pathogens found in wounds include Pasteurella spp., Staphylococcus and Streptococcus and Capnocytophaga canimorsus. The last bacterial listed is a normal bacterial flora in up to 41 percent of dogs, so it’s good to have any bite wound checked for infection from this bacteria.

An early evaluation of a bite helps reduce the likelihood of infection. Most people who suffer from dog bites have their blood drawn and also begin to receive antibiotics to treat the wound and prevent infection. If the dog has not received vaccines, the individual may need a tetanus shot as well as rabies shots to prevent potentially life-threatening illnesses.

Without treatment, sepsis, endocarditis, ocular infection and meningitis are all possible. Get the treatment you need; you can file a claim for compensation when your health isn’t at risk.

Source: US National Library of Medicine, “Microbiology of Animal Bite Wound Infections,” Fredrick M. Abrahamian, Ellie J. C. Goldstein, accessed Nov. 14, 2017