Getting bit by a dog, cat or another animal can be extremely traumatic for anyone, but severe attacks or complications from a bite can lead to life-changing consequences.

While it is rare, infections can be extremely serious if the dog or cat has a type of bacteria called Capnocytophaga in the mouth. This infection’s symptoms involve blisters around the wound typically within three to five days after the attack. Other symptoms include:

  • Stomach pain, diarrhea or vomiting
  • Fever or headaches
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Redness and swelling
  • Draining from the wound

These symptoms can appear as quickly as a day or up to two weeks after the incident. They are more likely to occur in those with a diminished immune system, pregnant, over 40, or taking steroids or certain medications. The worst cases involve organ shutdown or sepsis.

Seek medical help immediately

Anyone bit by a stray or unattended animal should immediately seek medical help, and it is still an excellent precautionary measure even if you know the animal. Any of the above symptoms or other complications should be considered an emergency.

Treatment will involve an antibiotic or a combination of several to kill the bacteria. If left untreated, severe outcomes include amputation of fingers or toes or even death.

Negligent owners are responsible

Animal owners who let their pets roam free can be held accountable for injuries caused by the animal. In cases involving Capnocytophaga or another severe infection, it is best to talk with a personal injury attorney who handles animal bites. These legal professionals can help victims and their families get compensation for medical expenses, loss of income and the pain and suffering involving such traumatic events.